Kevin McHale continued his war of words with Houston Rockets star James Harden on Friday. The former Rockets coach-turned-TV analyst had fired the opening salvo last week by declaring that Harden is “not a leader.” Harden responded by calling McHale “a clown” and questioning his character.
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“Chris Paul will have that leadership at those times where [Harden] gets a little bit introverted, a little bit quiet,” McHale said Friday. “You saw the game with the Spurs, he gets to the point where he’s just passive. And Chris Paul’s not like that.”
As much as Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni would rather not have the potential distraction that could come with former Rockets coach Kevin McHale’s criticism of James Harden’s leadership and Harden’s strong rebuttal, he said that dealing with those sorts of public issues has become part of the job. “It’s hard in modern society with … social media. It’s tough,” D’Antoni said. “It’s the new way of doing things and players have to deal with it. Coaches got to deal with it. We try to stay locked in as much as we can, knowing it’s not always going to be that way. And we just move on. “We’re using the same motto we used last year; ‘So what, what’s next.’ We were successful with that last year and we’ll try to do that again.”
“He’s a clown. Honestly,” Harden said. “I did anything and everything he asked me to do. I tried to lead this team since I stepped foot here in Houston. To go out there and downplay my name, honestly, he’s never taught me anything to be a leader. But I’ve done a great job. The organization, my coaches. You can ask any of those guys how I worked extremely hard every single day to better, obviously, be a basketball player, but to be a leader as well, defensively as well.”
Tim MacMahon: Mike D’Antoni’s reaction to Kevin McHale saying James Harden is not a leader: “All I can do is talk about my experience, and he’s been unbelievably great. Obviously I got Coach of the Year last year because of him and the other 10 guys on the team. He’s been great with everything I asked. I asked a lot of him last year. I asked him to be the point guard, I asked him to talk in D, I asked a lot of things and he responded great. We had great chemistry. He’s the first one to get them all together in the summer time or take them out during the year to keep the team together. So I didn’t see it. He’s been great for me.”
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March 21, 2018 | 7:57 am EDT Update
Paul Henning: Take it for what it is. But, @GeryWoelfel is close to Jabari and the Parker family. This morning @1057FMTheFan he reports Jabari was “very, very close to being traded” at deadline, feels there is “slim to none” chances that Jabari is on Bucks next season. Describing it as a mutual fallout between Bucks/Jabari that is rooted in Kidd’s treatment of Jabari since he was drafted. Bucks hold the cards with Jabari’s Restricted Free Agency ability to match. But, losing Jabari for nothing would be a huge blow to this teams future.
And while Thomas sees himself as a starter, he told The Times he wouldn’t rule out returning to the Lakers in a role similar to what he has now, coming off the bench for significant minutes. “I like it here, I like the situation I’m in, the system, coaching staff,” Thomas said. “Organization’s been great to me. If things work out I would love to be here. You just never know. With free agency you’ve got to keep your options open. I have no complaints since I’ve stepped foot and put a Laker uniform on.”
Thomas knows that. And he knows what will be important to him this summer. “Obviously I want to make a lot of money, but I want to be where I’m wanted at and where the team wants me to be who I am,” Thomas told The Times. “And that’s being an All-Star. Being a special guard in this league.”
“I want to be great,” Thomas said. “I want to win MVP, I want to continue to be an All-Star. Their goals probably aren’t that yet. Coming straight into the league especially at 19, 20 years old. They’re in it for the experience just to figure things out on their own. And then on top of getting to the playoffs and winning championships, I want all that and it might not be their mindset yet. But at the same time being on this team I’m trying to put that in their heads that you can do whatever you put your mind to. Why not think big?”
Zach Lowe: What [did Kemba Walker] wanna know about [potentially getting traded after the Adrian Wojnarowski report came out]? Steve Clifford: I think I was more proactive with him, just explaining to him that A) there’s no untradeable player. Go back through NBA history, and player could be traded. But B) I told him it would be very difficult to find a scenario where he could be traded. And the fact that there were rumors, which is gonna happen, is because he’s such a good player making less money than he’s worth by a lot. So of course, there were gonna be calls.
Steve Clifford: That was the first part of it. Then I know after shootaround, by the time we had gotten back to the arena that night, Michael Jordan had called him and spoke to him, and explained to him that we weren’t looking to trade him. And basically we went through the whole thing. Kemba said that Michael was very forthcoming and said, ‘Listen. If there is an unbelievable trade with Player A and Player B, and it would make our team a lot better, of course, anybody could be traded.’ But then I explained to him, ‘Look, you’re not gonna be traded. You’re gonna be here. You’re the face of our franchise.’ And I thought Kemba handled it great.
Alex Kennedy: Have you had any conversations with NBA teams [since being waived by New Orleans]? Jordan Crawford: Yeah, I actually worked out for two playoff teams recently, so I’ve been in contact. After going to them and the feedback from them was that I’m ready and I’m in shape. I’m a veteran. Because I’ve been showing how humbled I’ve been, I’ve been going to the [G League] and I did Summer League before, I don’t want people to think that I just, that I have to prove myself every time to be on a roster. I carry myself as a professional.