John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins confronted James Harden during Rockets meeting prior to trade, per report

The James Harden saga in Houston was so thoroughly covered that there really isn’t much more for us to learn about the end of his time with the Rockets. Between videos on social media to reports from various media outlets we know everything, from what Harden was doing in his off time to the discussions that were going on in the Rockets’ front office.

However, we did get one new bit of information on Monday, courtesy of a report from Kelly Iko and Sam Amick of The Athletic, which details what went down just before the blockbuster four-team trade that sent Harden to the Brooklyn Nets. Everyone is familiar with the now infamous press conference, in which Harden said the situation couldn’t be fixed. 

Yet what wasn’t known was that just prior to that the Rockets had a tense team meeting where John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins demanded accountability from Harden:

The group was fed up with the antics, tired of the headlines and the constant questions about Harden’s state of mind and where this was all going. And with every day that Harden remained in Houston, his presence became increasingly burdensome for a team that just wanted a sense of clarity and understanding.

During the meeting, which was led by Silas, and which sealed his decision to keep Harden out of subsequent team activities until a trade was complete, sources say multiple teammates expressed displeasure with Harden’s recent body language and effort. Silas had asked if anyone wanted to share their unfiltered views, and the dialogue about their dysfunction began from there.

John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins both spoke during the meeting, sources said, seeking a direct response on Harden’s level of commitment and preaching about the importance of accountability. For those who had been with the Rockets back when Westbrook preached the same message to anyone who would listen, these uncomfortable dynamics were all too familiar.

This really isn’t all that surprising. Harden clearly didn’t want to be in Houston, and between his preseason antics and play on the floor, he didn’t appear to be taking the start of the season all the seriously. In the last five games before the trade, he was averaging just 17.4 points on 37.8 percent from the field, numbers which were well below his usual standards. 

Even when a player has as much star power as Harden, his teammates are only going to put up with that for so long. Especially when two of them are Wall and Cousins, each of whom have spent years working their way back from major injuries to be able to play again. 

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