The Rockets' PJ Tucker weighed in on alleged drama between teammates James Harden and Chris Paul, comparing the relationship to Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal's on the Lakers back in the 2000s.
In a new story for The Athletic, Tucker discussed the Rockets with Sam Amick following the 2019 NBA Awards on Monday night. Tucker was asked about the conflict between Harden and Paul and the report of a verbal altercation between the two following their Game 6 elimination in the second round of the playoffs.
"It was what it was," he said. "Everybody's mad. Everybody's pissed. You can't–I'm sick of all the highlight of whoever this person is trying to come up with all this crap, like I argue with Chris and James more than Chris and James argue with each other. Like, I'm the center, focal [point] of the argument because I'm always yelling at somebody and they're yelling at me. So for me, it’s like 'If you're not arguing… You don’t think Kobe and Shaq argued?"
When Amick pointed out this was a tough comparison due to the two's fight breaking up a dynasty and O'Neal going to Miami, Tucker went on to say:
"Nah, but guess what? They won championships together. Right? And that's what people care about, right? That's what we talking about, right? Nah, but we're talking about winning championships, right? So that’s all that matters. To win a championship. That's it. Nothing else matters. If we win a championship together and we f---ing hate each other, then guess what? Who cares? [Laughs] Nobody. Right, so that's all that matters. At the end of the day, that's all that matters. Winning a championship. Everything else is failure."
Tucker's comments follow a report from Yahoo Sports which said Paul demanded the Rockets trade him. Tthe All-Star guard's relationship with Harden reportedly grew "unsalvageable" to the point where "it can't be fixed." Paul then took to Instagram after the report came out, writing the rift was "news to me." The Yahoo report surfaced after Houston general manager Daryl Morey stated that Paul did not want to be dealt and the Rockets were seeking to add "one more star."
The 34-year-old Paul arrived in 2017, while Harden has been with the Rockets since 2012.