The hilarious reason Udonis Haslem is glad Heat didn’t trade for James Harden
What was Haslem’s rationale? He felt it would have been impossible to keep Harden in line and get him to “buy in” when it comes to Heat culture.
Haslem joked on the latest Complex Sports Podcast being Harden’s mentor would have taken years off his life:
“I knew we wasn’t gonna get him,” Haslem said, via Dime Magazine. “You can’t bring James Harden to Miami. As much as I wanted that to work out, in my mind I was like, ain’t no way. I would’ve aged 15 years trying to be his O.G. He would’ve had to move me into the guesthouse to keep a close eye on him.”
"You can't bring James Harden to Miami… I would've aged 15 years trying to be his OG." 😂
Udonis Haslem kept it real on Harden coming to the Heat.
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) January 19, 2021
Former Heat players have spoken at length about Miami’s culture, cultivated through years of strong leadership from the likes of Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra. Would Harden—who reportedly shaped a toxic culture in Houston—have changed his behavior for the benefit of the team? Haslem does not believe so, and he certainly would not have wanted to see that experiment play out.
It seemed unlikely the Heat were ever real contenders to get Harden, anyway. Houston reportedly wanted all of Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson and Precious Achiuwa in addition to significant draft compensation. Although Miami had some discussions with the Rockets, the Heat mostly signaled an intent to move on once the regular season got underway.
Whether Harden would have put Miami over the top is up for debate, but Haslem clearly feels “The Beard” would not have been a good fit in South Beach.