James Harden Pens Emotional Farewell To HOU 'I Am Forever Indebted'

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James Harden is saying goodbye to his home of 9 years with an emotional tribute ... saying he is "forever indebted" to the city after failing to bring the Larry O'Brien trophy back to Houston.

The 2018 MVP had a messy breakup with the Rockets to say the least ... from asking for a trade, to partying in ATL and Las Vegas during training camp, to publicly bashing the team.

But, JH put all that aside in his final message to H-Town ... thanking the organization and city for taking a chance on him.

"What can I write? What words can convey all the ways I feel," Harden said Friday.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

"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 added ... "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."

FWIW -- the Rockets won their first game of the post-Harden era Thursday night ... beating the San Antonio Spurs 109 to 105. So, things aren't all bad in H-Town!!

The superstar continued ... "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."

Now, Harden joins Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to form a super team in Brooklyn ... where he hopes to finally get that first ring.

James Harden Angry Fans Leave 1-Star Reviews For Unopened Restaurant

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James Harden's new upscale restaurant in Houston isn't even open yet, but the place is getting flooded with bad reviews ... courtesy of a bunch of pissed-off Rockets fans!!

Despite being shipped to the Brooklyn Nets this week, Harden's restaurant -- named "Thirteen" after his jersey number -- is set to open its doors later this month.

A number of passionate fans used the restaurant's review section as an opportunity to troll the hell out of their new nemesis ... leaving a bunch of angry 1-star reviews of the place.

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Here are a few examples of the reviews:

"Literal trash just like James harden"

"Owner doesn’t know how to cook it up in the court."

"Doesn't quite have that championship taste."

"toxic owner, food just never comes out finished. definitely a choking hazard. owner walked out on the chefs he brought in himself. wouldn’t touch this place with a 4 mile long pole."

One fan even used the same words from Harden's final post-game presser with the Rockets ... saying, "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"

There are a LOT more we could share ... but you get the point.

Some fans, however, are taking the higher road by trying to combat the bad reviews with 5 stars and kindness, like this guy who said, "The owner carried my team for 8 years and made us relevant."

The new spot will offer fine wine, cocktails and steaks ... so folks can at least enjoy that even if Harden is gone.

That is, as long as it doesn't leave a bad taste in their mouths.

James Harden Traded To Nets ... Blockbuster Deal

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1:20 PM PT -- Harden has finally gotten his wish -- the 2018 MVP has been traded to the Brooklyn Nets in a multiple-team deal, ESPN reports.

There's a lot of moving parts here, so pay attention -- Caris LeVert is heading to Indiana and Victor Oladipo is on his way to H-Town as part of the trade.

The Cavs found their way into the madness by acquiring star center Jarrett Allen and guard Taurean Prince ... and sending Dante Exum to the Rockets.

On top of all that, the Nets will send 4 first-round picks to the Rockets ... going all-in on winning immediately.

This league!!!

It appears James Harden is on the verge of getting a one-way ticket outta Houston ... 'cause Rockets head coach Stephen Silas told the NBA superstar to stay home after ripping the team in a post-game interview.

31-year-old Harden unleashed on the Rockets after their 117-100 loss to the Lakers on Tuesday night ... saying, "we're just not good enough" and claiming the situation is beyond repair.

In wake of Harden's comments, a clearly fed up Silas explained why The Beard was absent from practice Wednesday.

"We felt that it was best for the group and best for James not to come to practice," Silas said.

Harden's teammate, John Wall, spoke out about #13's reaction to the team's 3-6 start ... saying, "It’s only been nine games. Come on, man, you want to jump off the cliff after nine games?"

"When you have certain guys in the mix that don’t want to buy in all as one, it’s going to be hard to do anything special, to do anything good as a basketball team."

DeMarcus Cousins wasn't as nice Wednesday afternoon.

THE DISRESPECT IS REAL
Houston Rockets

"My interest is to play with John Wall, to be brutally honest," Cousins said.

"The (James Harden) disrespect started way before. This isn't something that all of a sudden started last night."

"It's completely unfair to the rest of the guys in the locker room."

Of course, Harden's name was in the news all offseason -- JH was spotted in ATL and Las Vegas while his teammates were in Houston preparing for the season ... claiming he was "training" for the season.

DECEMBER 2020
THE HARDEN HOOKUP

There are rumors Harden could be shipped to the Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia Sixers or other potential teams as a result of the drama ... so it's very possible he's played his last game in Houston.

Originally Published -- 12:23 PM PT

LeBron James Nails No-Look 3 To Win $100 Bet ... With Dennis Schroder

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LeBron James is now $100 richer ... and it's all thanks to a mid-game bet he made on an insane no-look 3-pointer with teammate Dennis Schroder!!

The Lakers were already easily handling the troubled Houston Rockets early in the game Tuesday night ... holding a 21-point lead through the first quarter.

But, the real fun started a few minutes into the second, when Schroder yelled out a proposition to Bron to nail a wide-open corner 3 ball for $100.

"Bet a Benjamin on it!" Schroder said from the bench a few inches away.

Naturally, LBJ pulled up, took the shot, turned around and looked Schroder dead in the eyes and said "BET!!" before the ball even made its descent to the hoop.

Of course, the ball hit nothing but net, and the Lakers bench went absolutely bonkers!!

So, why did LeBron flip around before the shot even went in like he was Steph Curry?? It's all about that bet etiquette!!

"A bet isn't official until you look a man in the eye, so I had to look him into the eye."

Schroder also commented on the shot, calling it straight-up "legendary."

Watch out, Steph ... LeBron could end up jackin' your swag!!

Houston Rockets First Game Postponed Not Enough Players Cleared COVID Protocol

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The NBA has postponed the Houston Rockets vs. OKC Thunder game set for Wednesday night -- because the Rockets don't have enough players available to field a team due to COVID restrictions.

An NBA team needs at least 8 players to compete -- and the Rockets don't have enough guys.

Here's the deal ... the NBA says, "Three Houston Rockets players have returned tests that were either positive or inconclusive for coronavirus."

Unclear which Rockets players returned the positive or inconclusive COVID tests.

Additionally, the league says 4 more players are quarantined due to the league's contact tracing protocol.

Rockets superstars John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins are 2 of the players in the contact tracing protocol, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.

Plus, there's more drama including James Harden, the NBA says the superstar is also unavailable due to "violation of the health and safety protocols."

Harden was spotted partying this week without a mask. Some people claimed Harden was at a strip club but Harden says he was just showing his "home girl love" at a private event.

So, that's a total of 8 guys unavailable for the Rockets -- which leaves them without enough players to field a team. Crappy way to kick off the season.

The Rockets vs. Thunder game was supposed to be one of the NBA's marquee opening night matchups to kick off the 2020-21 season.

Story developing ..

Kenny Smith Rockets Must Make Peace With Harden ... Can't Trade Him!!!

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GOTTA MAKE HIM HAPPY
TMZSports.com

James Harden is too good of a talent to trade away just 'cause he's unhappy ... so says Kenny "The Jet" Smith ... who tells TMZ Sports the Rockets have to find a way to make things work with the superstar.

Houston has been trying to part ways with Harden for weeks ... after the 31-year-old baller expressed desires to play elsewhere earlier in the offseason.

Of course, after Harden's highly publicized trips to Atlanta and Las Vegas at the start of Rockets training camp, it appeared a breakup was on the horizon.

DECEMBER 2020
THE HARDEN HOOKUP

But, the "Inside The NBA" analyst -- who played in H-Town from 1990-96 -- tells us Houston should NOT give in to Harden's wishes ... and says the team needs to fix their relationship with the All-Star.

"Nah, I'm not trading my best player if he's not happy," Smith says. "He's gotta have a better reason. You gotta have a better reason."

"He's too good to just trade because he's not happy."

Smith adds the only way the Rockets should consider trading The Beard is if they get a player of the same talent level like Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James or Anthony Davis in return ... but let's be honest -- that ain't happening.

"James Harden is a player that doesn't come around every 10 years. So, you need a guy who doesn't come around every 10 years to match that."

Smith has a solution -- saying the front office has to sit down with Harden and break down their plan to bring the Larry O'Brien trophy back to Houston.

"You have a long conversation -- which I'm sure he should have already -- and you say, 'This is what we're going to do to win a championship.' It's all about championship talk."

James Harden Explains Skipping Camp For ATL, Vegas ... 'I Was Training'

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TRAININ' ABROAD
Houston Rockets

James Harden says he wasn't just raging with Lil Baby and hitting Las Vegas hot spots while ditching Rockets training camp ... insisting he was really "training" to prepare for the upcoming season.

The 31-year-old superstar met with the media Wednesday for the first time since showing up to camp on Dec. 8 ... and was immediately hit with all the questions people have been wondering for weeks.

First ... does he still want to be traded out of Houston??

"Right now, I'm just focused on being here," Harden said. "Today was good, yesterday felt really good being out there for the first time since the bubble. I haven't really had an opportunity to do a lot of 5-on-5 work."

"For my first time being out there, I felt pretty good."

Next ... what was he doing in ATL and Sin City when his team expected him to show up to camp??

"I was just training," Harden said.

When pressed on what exactly he was training for, The Beard simply replied -- "The start of the NBA season."

As for why exactly he couldn't do that in Houston with the rest of his teammates??

"Just my personal trainers," Harden said.

As we previously reported, JH was spotted celebrating the rapper's birthday in ATL while his teammates were in Houston to prepare for the season ... gifting Lil Baby a $300k bag, Richard Mille watch and wads of cash.

DECEMBER 2020
THE HARDEN HOOKUP

Harden then took the party to Drai's nightclub in Vegas Sunday, Dec. 6 ... hours after he reportedly told the Rockets he would be at camp earlier that day.

Harden's actions drew criticism from ex-NBA player Stephen Jackson ... who called him out for "chasing rappers" instead of helping first-year head coach Stephen Silas.

Harden finally showed up on Dec. 8 ... and eventually played in his first preseason game on Tuesday, scoring 12 points in 21 minutes.

Stephen Jackson Goes Off On James Harden For 'Chasing Rappers' Instead of Helping Black Coach

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RAPPER CHASER

"The Rockets finally get a young Black coach -- a young Black coach gets an opportunity -- and you don't wanna show up to camp?!"

That's Stephen Jackson sounding off on James Harden -- ripping the Houston Rockets star for blowing off the start of training camp to party with his rapper pal, Lil Baby, instead.

DECEMBER 2020
THE HARDEN HOOKUP

Jackson says Harden's antics -- which also included a whirlwind trip to Vegas -- are screwing over Stephen Silas, who was just hired to take over the team.

Silas, who is Black, has been an assistant coach for various NBA teams for years, most recently with the Dallas Mavericks. This is his first head coaching job.

And, S-Jack thinks Harden is doing everything he can to hurt Silas' chances of being successful.

"You don't wanna play for him?! How that look?! And you wonder why every time a Black coach get a job, they put him in the bulls**t situation."

"Look watchu doing," Jackson said ... "What a REAL one would do is go play for that Black coach and make him look good and build with John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins -- some real ones!"

"But obviously you wanna chase rappers around!"

Harden did eventually report to the Rockets -- but now he must pass 6 straight COVID-19 tests before he's cleared to workout with the team.

FYI, Harden is set to make $41 MILLION this season with the Rockets -- and Jackson feels he has an obligation to work hardened be a professional since he's being paid a king's ransom.

James Harden Shows Up At Rockets Camp ... After Reported Vegas Trip

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11:21 AM PT -- 12/8 -- The man of the hour has finally showed up to training camp ... with ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reporting the team's superstar has arrived at the Toyota Center and just underwent COVID testing.

Worth noting -- Harden also made headlines on Tuesday for reportedly telling Houston's front office he'd be open to a trade to the Philadelphia 76ers.

What happens in Vegas doesn't happen at Houston Rockets camp ... and that may be why James Harden has yet to join his team.

The NBA superstar has been partying it up in recent days -- from ragers with rapper Lil Baby on Thursday to reportedly hitting up Drai's nightclub in Sin City on Sunday night.

It sounds like a hell of a time, except the Rockets expected Harden to show up for an individual workout on Sunday ... but later told staffers he would arrive at camp "soon."

Of course, players are required to quarantine in their home markets before joining the team ... something Harden wasn't doing while hanging with Lil Baby.

DECEMBER 2020
THE HARDEN HOOKUP

Rockets head coach, Stephen Silas, gave an update on The Beard's absence at camp on Monday ... saying he is unsure when the star will show up.

"There is no timetable, as far as I know. It is a setback," Coach said. "You want your best player to be here."

When asked if Harden is sending a message through his no-show, Silas says it's up to the 31-year-old baller to share.

"I have no clarity about the message, honestly. I take it basically at face value that he’s not here and what the reasoning is, is on him."

"He’s the one who can explain why or why not he's not here. For me to make inferences and think about the possibilities isn't real to me."

The drama comes weeks after ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Harden wanted to be traded to the Brooklyn Nets ... but Silas says #13 is the one who has to come clean on what's really going on.

"What's real is he's not here and he has a reason, but that's on him to tell whatever his reason is."

Sooooooo ......... what's up, James?!

Originally Published -- 12/7 12:50 PM PT

John Wall Emotional Farewell To D.C. After Trade ... 'You Rocked With Me From Day One'

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John Wall is pouring his heart out to his fans in Washington D.C. after being traded to Houston ... thanking his supporters for treating him like family over the past 10 years.

The #1 overall pick in 2010 was just shipped to the Rockets in exchange for Russell Westbrook in a blockbuster trade on Wednesday ... officially ending his run in the nation's capital.

Wall -- who was beloved in the city and active in the community since joining the NBA -- was sure to thank his former home in an emotional tribute on Thursday.

"I came to D.C. as a skinny 19-year-old with big dreams and goals," Wall said.

"You embraced me and my family with open arms. You rocked with me from day one until now."

He continued ... "From a young rookie to an All-Star, I did my best to make you proud. Through good times like that Game 6 versus Boston, through injuries & rehab, I always felt the love from you."

"I appreciate you and will ALWAYS have love for D.C."

Remember, Wall continued to give back to the city despite trade rumors just weeks ago ... handing out 1,000 Thanksgiving meals throughout the community.

STILL GOT LOVE FOR D.C.
TMZSports.com

Wall says he'll always appreciate everyone in D.C. ... no matter what team he's suiting up for.

"I may not wear the jersey anymore but I will never forget what it meant to represent for y'all."

"This isn't the way I thought I would say goodbye to this city, so I won't ... I will say THANK YOU!"

Danuel House Sorry For 'Mishap' That Led To NBA Bubble Exile ... 'Sincere Apologies'

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BUBBLE BLUNDER
Houston Rockets

Danuel House says he's "sincerely" sorry for his actions that got him booted from the NBA bubble in Sept. ... with the Rockets player telling reporters Wednesday the whole thing was a "mishap."

As we previously reported ... House got punted from Walt Disney World in Orlando after league officials said he violated rules by having an unauthorized guest in his hotel room.

House reportedly allowed a female COVID tester into his room ... which was a big no-no, with the NBA having a strict guest policy to try to limit a potential coronavirus spread.

House's exile was pretty big for the Rockets -- he was a key contributor who had been averaging 11 points and 6 rebounds per game in the playoffs -- and immediately after his departure, Houston got bounced by the Lakers.

Now, Danuel is breaking his silence on the incident ... issuing a mea culpa at the very beginning of his meeting with the media at Wednesday's Rockets training camp workout.

"I'd like to start off by apologizing to my team and the organization and the owner for the mishap that happened in the bubble," the 27-year-old said.

"I'm focused. It's behind me. It's in the past. New year, new season. Looking forward to growing and expanding."

House also said he was sorry to Houston's fans ... adding, "Sincere apologies from me, Danuel House Jr. to everyone."

Russell Westbrook COVID-Safe Thanksgiving Food Giveaway ... Great Video!

Breaking News

Think COVID could stop Russell Westbrook from helping out some families in need during the holiday? HELL NO!!

The NBA superstar grabbed some masks, gloves and sanitizer and hit the streets of L.A. on Thursday for his annual Thanksgiving dinner giveaway ... with some minor adjustments to keep everyone safe!

Westbrook's Why Not? Foundation teamed up with the L.A. Regional Food Bank and others to host a drive-thru event at Jesse Owens Park ... where all volunteers were decked out in PPE to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

It's the 9th year of Westbrook's food event -- but due to the pandemic, he had to make some changes this time around -- a challenge he happily met.

"This year is a little different with COVID and everything going on in our society," Russell said ... "But I'm thankful to be here to be able to give back to so many families."

He later added on Twitter, "Things are challenging right now & people are struggling. This is why it is more important than ever for me to support my community any way I can while keeping everyone safe."

#Respect

Report: James Harden Wants Out Of Houston ... Due To Owner's Trump Support

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9:20 PM PT -- A spokesperson for Landry's -- Tilman Fertitta's company -- issued a statement to TMZ Sports, saying the billionaire has donated to politicians on BOTH sides of the aisle ... including to Joe Biden's campaign.

“Throughout his business career, Tilman Fertitta has supported many individuals in public service. He has hosted numerous fundraisers for President Bill Clinton and hosted President George W. Bush in his home."

"Last year, he hosted a fundraiser for Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee as well as supported his longtime friend, Mark Kelly, now U.S. senator-elect of Arizona."

"He also contributed to President-elect Joe Biden’s campaign. As a respected business leader recognized across the country, Fertitta supports many Democrats, as well as Republicans.”

James Harden and many others in the Rockets' org. all want OUT of Houston ... and it's all reportedly because the team's owner is a big Donald Trump supporter.

NBA insider Ric Bucher dropped the bombshell revelation on "The Odd Couple" podcast this week ... saying Tilman Fertitta's ties to the Republican party and Trump have created a massive divide in the org.

According to Bucher ... players and staffers have disagreed so heavily with Tilman's donations to the Trump campaign -- it's created a straight-up "revolt."

"What I heard is," Bucher said, "and we know how much politics and political position had to do with the boycott and protests during the Bubble -- I'm hearing that Tilman Fertitta’s strong Republican support and donations is one of the things that is contributing to this dissatisfaction."

Bucher added, "There is a revolt here because they look at Fertitta as a guy who supports the current President."

Russell Westbrook has already reportedly requested a trade from the Rockets ... and Harden is said to now want out as well.

The team also jettisoned Robert Covington this week ... while last year's coach, Mike D'Antoni, and last year's GM, Daryl Morey, have already left the squad.

Fertitta -- who bought the Rockets in 2017 for $2.2 BILLION -- has never been shy about his public support for Trump ... he's praised POTUS often, and the two are known to be good pals.

We've reached out to the Rockets for comment on Bucher's report ... so far, no word back yet.

Daryl Morey Resigning as Houston Rockets GM ... 1 Year After China Drama

Breaking News

Daryl Morey is leaving his position as general manager of the Houston Rockets ... roughly 1 year after he created an international incident with a pro-Hong Kong tweet.

48-year-old Morey was NOT fired, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski -- but rather it was Daryl who approached Rockets' owner, Tilman Fertitta, and initiated the conversation to step down.

Morey has been the GM for the past 13 seasons -- and wanted to explore other professional options for himself while spending more time with his family ... according to Woj.

Morey was successful during his run with the team -- the Rockets have made the playoffs 8 years in the row, the longest streak among NBA teams.

But he's most well-known for the China incident -- on Oct. 4, 2019 he tweeted out support for Hong Kong, which REALLY pissed off China.

The tweet read, "Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong," with a pic of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong in October.

The Tweet created a ton of backlash in China ... with massive Chinese e-commerce site Taobao yanking all Rockets merchandise and CCTV pulling NBA games from broadcast.

It was just last week that China allowed CCTV to air NBA games again -- after a massive relationship rebuilding campaign led by NBA commish Adam Silver.

Woj says Morey will stay in the job to help the team find a new head coach -- and he isn't against working with the team in some capacity somewhere down the line.

Russell Westbrook Left $8,000 Tip For Housekeepers ... After Bubble Exit

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Incredible gesture by Houston Rockets superstar Russell Westbrook ... who showed his thanks to the NBA bubble housekeepers by leaving a fat, $8,000 tip!!!

Remember, most players were stuck in the same hotel room on the Disney World campus for MONTHS ... which means a LOT of stinky socks, clothes and shoes.

The 31-year-old gave mad respect to those doing the dirty work before the Rockets left the bubble ... gifting them the massive tip and leaving his room "virtually spotless," according to Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News.

Brodie confirmed the act to Taylor Rooks, saying, "They took great care of us. Took the time & energy to do their job at a high level. That was the right thing."

The NBA players and coaches have reportedly been extremely kind to all Disney staffers with tips and other kind gestures throughout their time in the NBA bubble ... and this is just one of many instances.

Ya love to see it.

Danuel House Booted from NBA Bubble Over Unauthorized Guest in Hotel Room

Breaking News

Danuel House ... is being sent home.

The Houston Rockets player has officially been kicked out of the NBA bubble environment in Orlando, Florida after league officials say he broke COVID protocol by having an unauthorized guest in his hotel room.

House reportedly invited a female COVID tester to his room on Sept. 8th -- despite the fact she is not allowed to hang with players when she's off the clock.

Players are only allowed to have authorized guests in their hotel room -- people who have been approved by the league.

The NBA investigated the allegations and while they didn't identify the unauthorized guest by name, the league clearly states House broke the rules.

"The NBA has concluded its investigation of a recent violation of campus health and safety protocols."

"The findings are that: Houston Rockets forward Danuel House had a guest in his hotel room over multiple hours on September 8 who was not authorized to be on campus."

The league says there was "no evidence" that other players or staff had contact with the guest or were involved in this incident.

"Mr. House is leaving the NBA campus and will not participate with the Rockets team in additional games this season."

It's a big blow to the Rockets -- the team is down 3-1 in their playoff series with the Lakers and House has been a significant contributor on the court ... averaging 11 points and 6 rebounds per game in the playoffs.

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