James Harden, behind the scenes, is still demanding a trade and therefore still playing hardball with the Houston Rockets.
But in public, at least as it relates to his first-year head coach, Harden is opting to play patty-cake.
“He did a great job,” Harden said of the work of Stephen Silas, the former Dallas Mavericks assistant now the head coach in Houston. “Very confident, knew what he was drawing up and knew where to put his guys at.”
This is lovely, an apparent olive branch extended to the organization that planned on Harden spending the next three years earning his $132 million and is instead thrown into disarray due to his selfishness.
Silas, to his credit, is also playing nice - though the former Rick Carlisle assistant is probably also hanging on for dear life. Superstar Russell Westbrook demanded a trade a got it, and Harden followed up by showing up late to training camp as he instead hung out in strip clubs from coast to coast.
“He has been committed since he’s been here,” Silas said. “He’s been great in practice, good to talk to and listening, asking good questions, pulling me to the side and telling me things he sees.”
"Since he's been here'' is the qualifier. Harden hasn't "been here'' long. And he doesn't want to "be here'' any longer.
At least one report insists that Harden wants out because he disliked the hiring of Silas, but that is giving the player too much credit; he wants out because this is the sort of person - gifted as he is - Harden is.
Silas said, “It means a lot when any player says that they like what you do, especially as a new head coach. A lot of the things I’m doing are things I believe in and have seen. But until you do that, to get feedback from him and the other guys have been gratifying.”
The Rockets are, however, 0-2. And why? It's not the fault of Silas. It's the fault of James Harden, who when it comes to things the coach "has seen'' ... well, he's never seen anything quite like the entire package that is James Harden.