James Harden had a few things to get off his chest at his introductory press conference with the Clippers on Thursday.
Harden said the Sixers had him on a ‘leash’ last season, declaring, “I’m not a system player, I am a system.”
“Philly is just changing my role knowing I can give more, knowing I can do more,” he said.
“But if you want me to be honest, it’s like being on a leash… I never really had that opportunity [to score and facilitate freely].”
When asked to elaborate on what he meant by the 76ers having him on a leash, Harden continued.
“I think the game and I’m a creator on the court,” he said. “… [I want] somebody that trusts me, that believes in me, that understands me.”
Harden’s claim that he lacked opportunities is certainly an interesting one, considering he ranked second in the NBA in time possessing the ball per game, as pointed out by The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor.
Harden also pushed back on the narrative that he might be unwilling to fit in with the Clippers and balked at previous criticisms of his approach.
“There’s a lot of narratives and people talking … people think they have an opinion or a voice, and other people listen to it.”
Whether he thinks it’s fair or not, his Clippers stint could very well be his last chance in the NBA.
According to all reports, the Clippers were the only team that wanted Harden, who is now 34 years old and has burnt bridges in Houston, Brooklyn and Philadelphia within the space of less than three years.