Shooter Eric Gordon said he believes the trade that sent former franchise cornerstone James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets allows the Houston Rockets to have “a real direction” under first-year head coach Stephen Silas after a chaotic start to the season.
“It was clear that one could see from the summer, and since the season started, that he would not be here,” Gordon said after Thursday’s shootaround, as he was the only member of the organization made available to the media. “For us, I think it just gives us a chance [have] a right direction. Everyone else on the team can refine and not worry about his situation. We can only move on. “
Gordon was later ruled out of Thursday̵
The Rockets announced a three-team deal with the Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers Thursday morning. Houston’s net advantage in the trade is four first-round picks (Nets’ in 2022, 2024 and 2026 and Milwaukee’s 2022 via Cleveland), the right to swap first-rounders with the Nets for four other years, ex-Cavs guard Dante Exum and former Nets -guard Caris LeVert and striker Rodions Kurucs. LeVert will be redirected to the Indiana Pacers in a separate trade for former All-Star shooting guard Victor Oladipo, sources said.
The deal brought a breakdown after an awkward couple of months in which Harden demanded a trade, kept out of training camp and declared the rockets “just not good enough” after Tuesday night’s blowout loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, which ends up being 2018 MVP’s last game in Houston uniform.
“On behalf of the entire Rockets organization and Houston City, I would like to thank James Harden for an astonishing eight plus seasons in a Rockets uniform,” Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta said in a statement. “James has given us as many fond memories as we have seen him grow from Sixth Man of the Year to a Perennial All-Star and MVP. My family and I would also like to thank James for his many out-of-court contributions, including generous charitable donations and more. “We wish James good luck and will always be grateful for the memories.”
Rocket Center DeMarcus Cousins scolded Harden for being “disrespectful” hours before the deal ended Wednesday, saying Harden’s pranks and comments had been “completely unfair” to his Houston teammates.
Gordon, who arrived in Houston before the 2016-17 season and was Harden’s longest-serving Rockets teammate, did not take Harden’s comments that hard.
“For me, when I know him personally, I don’t think he really meant it as far as respect for us,” Gordon said. “It’s just for me. I think he just wanted a different situation. He has shown that and he said it too … I do not think he really meant to really respect the players, but he wanted his way out … And he got it. “