For legacy sake, it’s time for CP3 and James Harden to put whatever beefs they have aside and prepare for a legit title run in 2020.
The inability to get over the hump in the West has caused tension within the organization, most specifically with veteran point guard CP3 and The Beard. The tandem joined forces to try and do what the Toronto Raptors just did and defeat Golden State. It has been an impossible task for Houston as they have been eliminated from the playoffs the past two seasons by the Warriors.
In 2018, Houston pushed the Warriors to the brink of elimination, losing a Game 7 with Chris Paul injured and unable to play. With Paul back healthy this season, Houston got whooped in six games by Golden State who was playing without the services of Kevin Durant.
Reports began surfacing early last week about an irreparable rift between Harden and Chris Paul and outlets were saying that Chris Paul wanted out of Houston. Yahoo Sports reported that Paul approached management about a trade and Harden issued a “him or me” edict.
Former players such as Rajan Rondo chimed in on the supposed conflict.
Chris Paul and James Harden apparently have “beef” and their relationship is “unsalvageable”. Harden has given Rockets FO an ultimatum to choose between the two and Chris Paul has demanded a trade, per @VinceGoodwill pic.twitter.com/KpWjPan0yI
— 𝐒𝐡𝐨𝐰𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞 𝐌𝐞𝐝𝐢𝐚 (@Showtime_AD3) June 18, 2019
Current players such as Austin Rivers says its fake news.
With the effects of the Anthony Davis trade settling in and the NBA Draft a few days away, maybe the NBA media had a slow week and had to embellish this narrative of Paul and Harden being at odds. Stir the pot with thoughts of a Chris Paul trade to some needy contender.
First, GM Daryl Morey dismissed the rumors in a recent podcast appearance and says he wouldn’t even consider trading Paul. He made it clear that he was looking to add star-studded free agents not subtract one.
Then, according to Stephen A. Smith, Paul addressed the rumors and confirmed that he didn’t have any problems with Harden and isn’t demanding a trade.
We know the two haven’t always seen eye to eye and it’s probably cost the Rockets a chance at a title, but neither player has a better option right now.
Besides, moving Paul would be almost impossible. The Rockets owe the 34-year-old guard $121 million over the next three years. No one in the world is going to take on that burden, especially with a player who is at the tail end of a Hall of Fame career.
In addition, for the sake of both of their legacies, Harden and Paul have to put whatever beef they do have aside and take one more solid crack at the championship. The Golden State dynasty appears over. The Lakers are looking formidable with LeBron and Davis, but it could take more than a season for the tandem to fully gel and Houston’s playoff continuity could snatch a series from them.
The West is wide open. As open as it’s ever been. We still don’t know where Kawhi Leonard and other elite free agents will land. Contrary to rumors and popular belief, NBA-leading scorer Harden and future HOF point guard CP3 are stuck like glue.
They have to develop a sound communication and figure out how they will correct the ills of the past. Time to suppress the egos, look in the mirror and realize that their legacies are at stake. Neither player has ever tasted a championship and they risk becoming this generation’s Patrick Ewing and Charles Barkley.
Instead of beefing and clashing, Harden and CP3 need to immerse themselves in perfecting a more disciplined plan of attack for this season and being as prepared, focused, in sync and professional as can be. The 2020 title will be there for the taking.
Ten years from now, when the legacy of those superstars who were able to win an NBA championship continues to explode and fans start to forget the stars who didn’t get any rings, Harden and CP3 will regret the fact that they let character flaws and past failures and frustration impede their quest for a championship.