“James is not a leader…. On every team you need to have a voice, you have to have somebody that when he says something, everybody listens. Look, if James tells you ‘Chuck, you’ve got to play better [defense]!’ Are you going to listen to him? You’re kidding me! I lived through it, everybody in the locker room [shook their head].”
Saturday, James Harden fired back, speaking to Tim MacMahon of ESPN (video above).
“He’s a clown, honestly. I did everything and anything he asked me to do, I tried to lead this team every single day here since I set foot in Houston. To go out there and downplay my name when, honestly, he never taught me anything to be a leader. But I’ve done a great job, the organization, my coaches, you can ask any of those guys…. To downplay my name like that shows his character. I don’t normally go back and forth with guys on social media or in interviews, but I’m going to stand up for myself.”
Harden took multiple shots at McHale’s character, saying McHale would say one thing to his face and something else now later on national television.
Harden is at least part of the reason McHale — a Hall of Fame player — is no longer in Houston as the coach. That led to bad blood, which has started to bubble over. There was frustration over style of play and more, and Harden is clearly happier in the Mike D’Antoni system. McHale will always land on his feet.
Both men have said their piece, we’ll see if they can rise above now or if they will keep it going.