Dan Feldman

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 18:   Dwight Howard #12 and James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets wait on the court against the Dallas Mavericks during Game One in the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2015 NBA Playoffs on April 18, 2015 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

James Harden: Rockets haven’t been fully on same page in my four years with Houston

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The Rockets were a mess last season.

James Harden and Dwight Howard clashed. Prized offseason acquisition Ty Lawson bombed. Houston fired coach Kevin McHale just 11 games into the season. The Rockets fell from 56 wins and the Western Conference finals to 41 wins and a first-round exit amid the disharmony.

Those conditions are apparently familiar, but Harden thinks they’re changing.

Harden, via Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:

“It’s not even close,” Harden said of the mentality heading into camp compared to last season. “We’ve doing something I haven’t since I’ve been here in Houston. Just trying to shake things up, just trying to make sure we really know each other in and out on and off the court. I think that will translate to a better team.”

Harden said last season’s disharmony was “an extremely big problem.”

asked about what he hopes to accomplish beginning with Saturday’s first practices, he said, “To build something that I haven’t had since I’ve been here, that’s everybody on the same page, everybody in the same boat.”

The Rockets traded for Harden four days before their first game in 2012, so it’s understandable that team didn’t fully jell. The next year, Houston signed Howard – and it reportedly didn’t take long for Harden and Howard to try getting the other traded. With Howard leaving for the Hawks this offseason, Harden starts anew.

A new coach (Mike D’Antoni) helps, as does an unblemished record. This is the time of year for optimism.

Will it last? Harden, with Howard gone, probably thinks it will.

But Howard was neither all of the Rockets’ problems or a big enough one to hinder winning. Houston looked plenty cohesive when advancing to the conference finals with Harden and Howard two years ago.

There are rarely, if ever, teams with everyone completely on the same page. With 15 players in the locker room, somebody is bound to have a differing agenda.

The successful teams get enough of their players, ideally their best players, pulling in the same direction. They get the malcontents to go along well enough. Productive working relationships, not perfection, is the goal.

Can the Rockets find that this year? It’s on Harden to prove he was more of a victim than the source of the problems he says dogged the team his entire time in Houston.

Kristaps Porzingis swats, swats, dunks on kid who cried when Knicks drafted last year (video)

AP Photo/Julie Jacobson
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Remember that kid who cried when the Knicks drafted Kristaps Porzingis?

The young fan changed his tune when Porzingis looked like a future star as a rookie, but Porzingis still got his revenge:

Dream of a lifetime playing against my idol @kporzee

A video posted by Jordan The Crying Knicks Fan (@cryingknicksfan) on

Report: No truth to John Wall-Jahlil Okafor-Reggie Jackson-Brandon Knight trade rumor

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 14: Reggie Jackson #1 of the Detroit Pistons and John Wall #2 of the Washington Wizards go after a loose ball in the second half at Verizon Center on March 14, 2016 in Washington, DC.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
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There was a rumor floating around a few days ago that seemed to originate from the type of website that shamelessly turns fan ideas into “trade rumors” without any knowledge into whether the teams are actually discussing it. The version I saw was a four-team trade:

Pistons

Wizards

76ers

  • Give: Jahlil Okafor
  • Get: Reggie Jackson

Suns

  • Suns give: Brandon Knight, T.J. Warren
  • Suns get: Tobias Harris, Reggie Bullock, first-round pick

This one got a little more steam than usual, so someone checked into it.

Tom Moore of the Bucks County Courier Times:

https://twitter.com/tmoore76ers/status/776843799318388736

Brook Lopez crams into phone booth with Jimmy Fallon, body builder and more – not Miley Cyrus (video)

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Brook Lopez appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon as Fallon and Miley Cyrus each answered trivia questions in a phone booth. A wrong answer brought someone else into that contestant’s phone booth. Unfortunately for the Nets center, he wound up in Fallon’s – not Cyrus’ – booth.

Robin Lopez has all the fun.

Dwyane Wade says he still hasn’t received Pat Riley’s email

MIAMI - APRIL 8:  Head coach Pat Riley looks on as Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat plays for the first time since injuring his shoulder in February, against the Charlotte Bobcats at American Airlines Arena April 8, 2007 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images
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Pat Riley reportedly never called Dwyane Wade during a free agency that saw the guard leave the Heat for the Bulls.

But the Miami president said in July he was drafting a long email to Wade, presumably fondly recollecting on their 13 years together.

Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald:

Wade:

It’s a funny thing about phones. Spellcheck sometimes mess up. So, I haven’t received it yet, but I’m sure it’s coming.

I guess Wade has already suffered what he perceived to be a bigger slap in the face from Riley. At this point, waiting a few more weeks – or even months – to hear from his former boss isn’t so bad.