In a quiet moment after a celebration at the Los Angeles middle school he attended, James Harden didn’t shy away from a question about whether he thought his team, the Houston Rockets, had a chance at signing LeBron James next month.
Harden seems to be keeping a respectful distance.
“Honestly, like, what, LeBron’s about to be in his 16th year in the league?,” Harden said. “I don’t think there’s anybody that can persuade him to go where he wants to go. I think it’s all up to him at this place in his career. He’s got three championships. It’s about business, it’s about family for him. Whether he wants to go to Houston or LA or stay in Cleveland, no GM, no friend, nobody can persuade him other than maybe his kids and his wife. Whatever he decides to do, he’ll do it.”
Harden’s teammate Chris Paul is a close friend of James’. The “banana boat” group of Paul, James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony are called that because they vacationed together and were photographed on a banana boat. But Harden insists Paul isn’t pushing James with a recruiting pitch.
“Nahh,” Harden said. “Him and Chris are really tight. As a friend, him and Chris are really good friends. I don’t think they talk about him coming to Houston. I think they talk about basketball and if LeBron wants to say, ‘Hey, I’m thinking about coming your way,’ then that’s a discussion we can have. I don’t think they talk about it.”
Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli