It’s safe to say that Russell Westbrook hated his time in Houston because he couldn’t stand the way James Harden conducted business.
Before getting traded to the Wizards, Westbrook was said to be frustrated with the team’s lack of accountability, especially from Harden.
Westbrook, sources say, has made it known for quite some time now that he would like to see significant changes to the Rockets’ culture. Specifically, his desire for more team-wide accountability, discipline and structure have been the focus of talks with team officials. Throughout the season, Westbrook was the consistent presence who kept Harden accountable and the two close friends had several verbal exchanges that sources described as “tense, but needed.”
A large chunk of the angst, however, stems from a lack of accountability, sources said. During the January locker room meeting following a home loss to Portland, Westbrook, who was leading the meeting, went around the room indicating what was wrong and what each player needed to do to fix the losing streak, starting with himself, sources said. When it came to Harden, however, he wasn’t as receptive to criticism as other teammates, sources said.
According to Kendrick Perkins, who played alongside both players in Oklahoma City, Westbrook was dismayed by the fact that Harden would constantly fly to Cabo in the middle of the season to party on Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta’s private plane.
.@KendrickPerkins says James Harden's partying led to Russell Westbrook's trade request.
"[If they had some days off], James was on a private [jet] to Cabo! On Tilman Fertitta's private [jet] at that! Russ is like… 'I ain't with all the partying.'"
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) January 16, 2021
We’ll see how Harden’s new Nets teammates deal with his partying these next few seasons.