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James Harden: “Dwight and I are the cornerstones of the Rockets. The rest of the guys are role players.”

Jul 24, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

If Chandler Parsons is looking for bulletin board material for next season, it’s going to be pretty easy to find.

First Dwight Howard said the Rockets’ loss of Parsons “won’t affect us at all.” Which is kind of what you expect Howard to say, still it’s a bit of a dis.

[MORE: Parsons ‘offended’ by Rockets’ ways]

Then James Harden took it another step. Harden is in the Philippines for an event he can’t actually play in and spoke with the Philippines Star about a variety of issues, but when asked about the loss of Parsons and other roster moves Harden said this.

“Dwight (Howard) and I are the cornerstones of the Rockets,” said Harden. “The rest of the guys are role players or pieces that complete our team. We’ve lost some pieces and added some pieces. I think we’ll be fine next season.”

We’ll see how Harden feels about role players being easily interchangeable in January after playing a few months with Trevor Ariza rather than Parsons, with Isaiah Canaan as the backup point guard for Patrick Beverley and not Jeremy Lin.

I’ll give Harden this, while the Rockets had a disappointing summer after striking out with Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh, they are not really worse than last year. I don’t like their depth as much, but if Harden and Howard can grow a little together this is as good a team as last season, maybe even a little better. Problem is that’s not enough to get the Rockets past the Spurs, Thunder and Clippers, maybe not even an improved Mavericks team.

[MORE: McHale on Rockets’ lackluster offseason: “We have to sign players”]

The one with Chandler Parsons.

I’ve got a feeling Parsons is going to go off in his first game vs. the Rockets next season.

  1. ebrownwareagle - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:53 AM

    Fans are funny and most times Fickle. Star Power Drives The NBA. Without at least 2 STARS on your probably not going to Win a Championship. The Rip H/C Billups/ Wallace(s) Pistons were The Exception to the Rule. Not the rule of thumb. Like it or not that just what it is. Howard and Harden are 2nd Tier stars.

    • Gary - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:10 AM

      I agree although I don’t really look at the 2004 Pistons team as an exception like others. Wallace was an All-Star but for defense. Billups and Rip were both All-Stars or rather on their way to becoming ones. The team was a defensive machine, and they had star quality guys, but just not ones people love to watch.

      • chicagosports2014 - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:05 PM

        Funny thing is JAMES HARDEN did the same move to OKC, you don’t hear DURANT or WESTBROOK hating on HIM…..

    • duhwighthoward - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:31 PM

      Wow, I can’t believe you would post this after the Spurs just won the NBA Finals in one of the most dominant performances of all time.

      2nd Tier stars… where do you come up with such stupid ideas?

      • clickablecontent - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:13 PM

        Rockets had THE deepest bench in the league, had the best record after January, and swept the Spurs in the regular season. Playoffs come, McHale suddenly changes the game plan. He sits everyone and fans have to watch Harden iso again and again, and lose. It’s a shame because we’re seeing now that they didn’t even understand what they had. It was special. They had the formula and they threw it away. Now it’s clear they’ve always wanted to be like every other team.

    • aceofspadez138 - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:49 PM

      Another exception were the 2011 Mavs. Dirk was the lone star on the team. You can’t consider a 37 year old Kidd or JET off the bench to be stars.

    • caeser12 - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:33 PM


      They were the exception plus Kobe tried to beat them all by himself. I just watched that series with a room full of Laker “fans’ to show them that Kobe wouldn’t be “chasing” his 6th ring, if he had only recognized that he was playing a team game that series, with 3 other HOF’ers on the floor.

    • ltippens - Jul 24, 2014 at 4:51 PM

      I wonder why these so called cornerstones didn’t show up in the playoffs.Is it just me that expect the cornerstones to carry the role players at least past the first round of the playoffs.I guess they are not making cornerstones like they use to.

    • iammr713 - Jul 24, 2014 at 5:53 PM

      Dirk Mavs? Hakeem Rockets b4 Drexler kame?

  2. tv63 - Jul 24, 2014 at 10:54 AM

    Rockets will never win a championship with that attitude.

    San Antonio Spurs: Duncan, Parker, Ginobili feel the TEAM is the cornerstone and they are just role players. The opposite of what Harden believes. That’s why they have 5 championships and Rockets do not.

    • Gary - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:14 AM

      What’s up with everyone on San Antonio’s sack lately? Before they beat Miami, hardly anyone was touting how much of a TEAM they were. I love the Spurs btw because of coach Pop.

      • calkinsrob - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:24 AM

        Theve been known to be a well rounded team for a long time. Now all the casual fans have just jumped on that spurs trash talk train and are really getting annoying with it haha.

      • mogogo1 - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:28 AM

        Lately? Their unselfish team play has been touted repeatedly dating back to when David Robinson was still playing.

      • patfic5 - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:43 PM

        Gary, the Spurs have been singled out CONSISTENTLY as epitomizing team basketball.

  3. Tick - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:03 AM

    All I heard Harden say is “This is why I got the boot from OKC.”

    Also – “Problem is that’s not enough to get the Rockets past the Spurs, Thunder and Clippers, maybe not even an improved Mavericks team.” Uh, also not good enough to get past Portland or Golden State, either.

  4. tangovader - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:13 AM

    ‘Role players or peices that complete our team’. Hmmm, I’m missing the part where he said something controversial or ‘wrong’.

    • mogogo1 - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:31 AM

      You can say that every company needs cogs in the machine with no problem at all. But this is like the boss standing up in a meeting and telling everybody else they’re just cogs. Probably technically true, but not a real morale booster or team-building moment.

    • kinggw - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:43 AM

      He didnt say anything wrong. Some people on this blog naively believe accepting the concept of team means not knowing what your role is. Also, they are mad because his comments insult cult hero Chandler Parsons, who has become the second coming of Larry Bird since signing with the Mavs.

      • tved12 - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:12 PM

        You’re right, he didn’t say anything wrong. I’m not a Chandler Parsons fan, Rockets fan, but I am a James Harden fan. That said, this isn’t a great way to talk about your teammates. Of course they know they’re not the stars, but the term “role player” isn’t the most ringing endorsement. If you’re Trevor Ariza, is this what you want to hear before you’ve ever played a game with this team?

    • tved12 - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:09 PM

      Then you must not be one of his teammates.

    • longtallsam - Jul 24, 2014 at 3:43 PM

      It’s wrong because the “stars” shouldn’t be minimizing the importance of all the team members. He can think it all he wants, but should never verbalize it. Not good for team morale. And when you consider Harden’s play at both ends of the court, he isn’t much above average anyway.

  5. imakcds - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:13 AM

    Haven’t read the article yet…

    Here’s the paradox:
    Dwight is NOT The Man.
    Dwight does not WANT to be The Man.
    Dwight IS a role player, and if Dwight would just fill that role,
    THEN he WOULD BE The Man.

  6. shadowgamesshades - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:15 AM

    James Harden sure played like a role player in the playoffs, but that’s none of my business.

  7. antistratfordian - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    Chandler Parsons going off means what? 20 points? Meh.

  8. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Jul 24, 2014 at 12:16 PM

    For a supposed non-factor, these guys sure do like talking a lot about Parsons.

  9. rogerrodgers - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:17 PM

    bunch of self fish punks

  10. tangovader - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:23 PM

    ‘this is like the boss standing up in a meeting and telling everybody else they’re just cogs. Probably technically true, but not a real morale booster or team-building moment.’

    And this isn’t Apple or IBM. The only reason copmpanies do that ‘one big team/everybody’s important’ spin is because the average corporate boss is probably making 3 times what his staff does,while only doing 10% as much actual work. When you’re busting 40-80hr weeks and your boss is taking 2 hour lunches, you NEED a morale boost.

    NBA role players are being paid millions to play a game. Stars of the team are paid more because they actually DO more. When you’re fairly compensated for your actual worth, you shouldn’t need someone to artificially inflate your importance to make you ‘feel’ better.

    • mogogo1 - Jul 24, 2014 at 6:40 PM

      Yes, because pro athletes are famous for putting their feeling aside and never feeling disrespected. Your hypothetical world looks nothing like the one in which the NBA is a part of.

  11. kb2408 - Jul 24, 2014 at 1:44 PM

    If those two pseudo franchise players are the cornerstones, the franchise ain’t going very far. They are no better than the 4th or 5th best team in the West.

  12. funkmong - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:03 PM

    As for these loser Rockets, it appears that Harden’s ROLE is a bit too heavy for team success. Another early playoff exit is on tap.

  13. chicagosports2014 - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:09 PM

    Harden was 4th best on OKC hahahahehe they valued Serge more!

  14. mutasian - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    can’t wait to see the mavs destroy them.

  15. redbaronx - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:24 PM

    Stupid comment by Harden! If he wants to go far in the playoffs you don’t dis your teammates even if they are role players. Basically what he said was “the rest of the guys don’t matter”. Some guys are going to be OK with that comment, but some aren’t. Come playoff time those kind of things can be an issue.

  16. cpcheung - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:28 PM

    Harden is saying that he was not a CORNER STONE with Oklahoma City Thunder who did not win the championship last season. Now Harden is the CORNER STONE with Houston Rockets who should be much worse and weaker than his former team. Harden implies that Rockets should not expect to win because he is the ROCKETS’ CORNER STONE WHICH WAS ABANDONED BY THUNDER.

  17. jimsjam33 - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:37 PM

    Time to trade one or both of these prima donnas .

  18. mazblast - Jul 24, 2014 at 2:57 PM

    Even if he’s dumb enough to believe that, it’s well and truly beyond stupid to SAY so.

    Good luck trying to bring in top-flight free agents next off-season with that idiocy being circulated to every FA in the league.

  19. devarajaswami - Jul 24, 2014 at 6:24 PM

    The only stone Harden is a corner of is the one tied to his feet on defense.

  20. csbanter - Jul 24, 2014 at 7:23 PM

    Parsons vs. Ariza will be good battle. Harden is correct about Dwight and him being the cornerstones. Now let’s see how far they go in 2014-15

  21. provguard - Jul 24, 2014 at 11:53 PM

    What an egotistical byatch! Harden, you and your sweetie will NEVER win an NBA title with that kind of attitude. Plus, you ain’t that good anyway!!!

  22. lhollis74 - Jul 25, 2014 at 2:10 AM

    Lol, this is hilarious! It will be even funnier when they realize they have the same Fake love for each other that they feigned for Parsons last season,lol! It should happen right around the time Harden starts seeing Howard as less than a superstar cuz he can’t score quickly and/or easily on his own. Especially since Harden doesn’t seem to care about what Howard is good at, defense. Howard’s gripe, privately amongst his circle, never face to face, will be that Harden doesn’t play both ends of the floor.
    This will get interesting I’m sure

  23. klinickal - Jul 25, 2014 at 5:27 AM

    Parsons need to grow a pair. He was a role player, like Harden was with OKC, now he has a chance to star like Harden is with Houston. Nothing to get hurt about.

  24. 24thesho - Jul 25, 2014 at 12:47 PM

    Way to go Harden! Way to create that team unity and chemistry! I used to like him as a player and he seems like a cool dude, but, it looks like he’s turning out to be a real jerk. They will never win a championship with that attitude…, never!

    • 24thesho - Jul 25, 2014 at 1:10 PM

      I meant, he “seemed” like a cool dude.

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