After spending three-plus seasons together, former Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale believes James Harden is ‘not a leader.' While McHale believes Harden is a ‘phenomenal basketball player,' he believes the addition of Chris Paul will allow the 28-year-old to focus purely on basketball.
Following practice, Harden responded to McHale's comments by calling him a ‘clown' and saying he ‘never taught me anything' according to Jonathan Feigen of Houston Chronicle:
James Harden on Kevin McHale saying he is no leader. "He's a clown."
Here's more: pic.twitter.com/PQQjugawHB
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) October 7, 2017
During McHale's time with the Rockets, he was coaching Harden and Dwight Howard. With it being well-documented the friction between the two All-Stars, Harden eventually became the team's leader after Howard signed with the Atlanta Hawks. In his eighth season, Harden averaged 29.1 points and 11.2 assists while leading the Rockets to a surprising 55-27 record under new head coach Mike D'Antoni.
While the war of words may continue, Harden's focus should be on the 2017-18 NBA season. With the addition of Paul, the best thing was the trade did not involve any core players going to the Los Angeles Clippers. As a result, the Rockets are considered the favorites to dethrone the defending champion Golden State Warriors on paper. However, it will be interesting to see how long it takes for the All-Star backcourt to gel together.