James Harden's final days in Houston were highlighted by uninspiring losses to the Lakers, a brief postgame press conference expressing his lack of confidence in the Rockets as a contender and John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins calling him out publicly for his actions during the early part of the season.
Now it appears as though Wall and Cousins' issues with Harden were brought up behind closed doors before the former MVP's fateful press conference.
After their second-straight loss to the Lakers, Rockets head coach Stephen Silas led a team meeting for players to share their "unfiltered views" of the saga surrounding Harden, per a story by The Athletic's Kelly Iko and Sam Amick.
According to the report, multiple teammates expressed their problems with Harden's recent body language and effort, including Wall and Cousins. Wall. Both recent acquisitions by the Rockets, sought, "a direct response on Harden’s level of commitment and preaching about the importance of accountability."
Harden reportedly responded by explaining that there was too much history associated with him and the organization for newcomers like Wall and Cousins to understand. The meeting ultimately sealed Silas' decision to keep Harden out of team activities until he was traded.
The reported back and forth between Wall, Cousins and Harden is consistent with the blows the three of them exchanged publicly. Wall criticized Harden for his lack of buy-in, Cousins called his actions disrespectful and Harden responded by citing his long tenure with the franchise as a justification for his actions.
Harden was ultimately traded to the Nets for four first-round picks, four first-round pick swaps, Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen. The Rockets re-routed Allen and LeVert to land former All-Star Victor Oladipo.
With the Harden saga in the rearview, Wall and Cousins can resume resurrecting their careers after several seasons marred by injury, while the Rockets look to find a new identity with three former All-Stars, and a new collection of draft assets.
Harden, meanwhile, dropped a series of tweets on Monday, thanking fans for their support during his time in Houston.
"What can I write? What words can convey all the ways I feel. Houston you welcomed me with no guarantees. Took a leap of faith and it changed my life and the lives of my family forever. This organization, this city has given me everything I could ask for and more," he wrote. "Before the scoring titles long before MVP you believed. For that I am forever indebted. The city opened its arms and welcomed me and my family as one of its own and for that I am forever indebted. I gave my mind body and soul in hopes of bringing the glory to the city.
"I fell short and for that I am forever indebted. It’s far from a goodbye as I pay all my debts. TMC H Town!"