James Harden 'Good' with Chris Paul After Trade, Denies Rumors of Tension

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJuly 20, 2019

Houston Rockets guard James Harden, left, talks with teammate Chris Paul as they walk off the court during a timeout in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings, Tuesday, April 2, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif. The Rockets won 130-105. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

If a rift existed between James Harden and Chris Paul during their two seasons as teammates with the Houston Rockets, it comes as news to the former NBA MVP. 

Speaking to reporters Saturday, Harden said he is "good" with Paul and any report that suggested otherwise "wasn't true."

Brian T. Smith @ChronBrianSmith

Harden said he is “good” with Chris Paul. “Obviously as teammates, as competitors, we argued on the court. ... The negative media stuff, it wasn’t true. ... Me and Chris had constant communication.” #Rockets #Thunder #NBA https://t.co/UvkyRpKFbt

Following the Rockets' exit from the postseason at the hands of the Golden State Warriors, rumors of tensions between the two superstars persisted. 

Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports cited sources who described Harden and Paul's relationship as "unsalvageable" with Paul going to Rockets management to demand a trade and Harden giving them a declaration of "him or me" after the season ended. 

Per ESPN's Tim MacMahon, one high-ranking Rockets official said: "There's too much damn turmoil. There's some hard feelings right now everywhere."

Houston general manager Daryl Morey denied there was any tension, telling Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: "It's definitely not true. It's ridiculous."

Morey added Paul never asked to be traded and would return to the Rockets next season. 

After Paul was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder as part of a package for Russell Westbrook, Goodwill reported Harden "made this [expletive] happen" because "he wanted Chris up out of there.”

Whether or not there was tension between Harden and Paul, their two seasons as teammates were a success. The Rockets won a franchise-record 65 games in 2017-18, with Harden being named NBA MVP that same season. 

Houston tried to run things back last season, falling to 53 wins and losing to the Warriors in the second round of the playoffs. 

Paul set career lows with 15.6 points per game and a 41.9 shooting percentage in 2018-19. 


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