Houston Rockets center DeMarcus Cousins fielded questions from reporters on Wednesday and addressed James Harden's recent actions by saying things have been sour for a while now.
"The disrespect started way before any interview," Cousins told reporters. "Just the approach to training camp, showing up the way he did, the antics off the court — the disrespect started way before."
Cousins was responding to Harden's comments from Tuesday night. The Rockets were handily defeated by the reigning NBA champion Lakers 117-100 and Harden, who has since been traded to the Nets, publicly said that the relationship was beyond repair.
"I love this city," Harden said after the loss. "I literally have done everything that I can. I mean, this situation is crazy. It’s something that I don’t think can be fixed."
Cousins took exception to the comments but is no stranger to tumultuous NBA relationships. The four-time All-Star forced a trade to the New Orleans Pelicans from the Sacramento Kings in 2017.
"This isn't something that all of a sudden happened last night," Cousins said. "With that being said, this is the part of the business, so it is what it is."
Rockets coach Stephen Silas said that Harden did not attend practice on Wednesday. Silas added he had a sleepless night after Harden's comments and told him that his comments "were hard to hear," according to USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt.
Later in the day, Harden was dealt to the Nets in a multi-team deal where the Rockets received Pacers guard Victor Oladipo, Cavaliers guard Dante Exum and Nets forward Rodions Kurucs, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne. They also received Brooklyn's unprotected first-round picks in 2022, 2024 and 2026 in the deal along with the right to swap first-round picks with Brooklyn in 2021, 2023, 2025 and 2027.