Even though the on-court partnership between Chris Paul and James Harden during their two seasons together with the Houston Rockets was fruitful, the duo was split up because Paul had issues with Harden as a teammate.
Per ESPN's Tim MacMahon, one of Paul's "biggest beefs" with Harden was his lack of interest in participating in the Rockets offense when he didn't have the ball, including "sometimes barely stepping over half court while spectating when Paul had the ball."
When the Rockets traded Paul to the Oklahoma City Thunder in July 2019, there were rumblings of discord between the two stars.
Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports reported the previous month that Paul wanted out of Houston because his relationship with Harden had become "unsalvageable" after going "nearly two months without speaking to each other during the season."
One source told Goodwill there was "no respect at all" between Paul and Harden.
The Rockets lost to the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs during each of Paul's two seasons with the team, including a seven-game defeat in the 2018 Western Conference Finals. The 10-time All-Star missed the final two games of the series because of a hamstring injury.
Harden has been the face of Houston basketball for the past eight seasons, but he is apparently seeking a fresh start somewhere else. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne reported the former NBA MVP has told management he will "be professional and engaged upon joining the team" but still wants to be traded.
The Rockets will open the 2020-21 season Dec. 23 at home against the Thunder.