When James Harden was being touted by the Houston Rockets, the Miami Heat were heavily linked in NBA News as a potential suitor for the former MVP. Miami was seen as a franchise which could provide Harden with a viable opportunity to win a championship while also being a city the 31-year-old would enjoy living in.
Harden's antics off the court have been well documented over the years, particularly prior to this season when the shooting guard was fined for breaching league protocols by attending a party without a mask. Had the elite scorer moved to the Heat though, one of the franchise's veterans was wary of how he would be able to keep the superstar in check.
NBA News: Miami Heat veteran Udonis Haslem says he couldn't have kept up with James Harden's antics
James Harden was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in a mega-deal last week, ending hopes around the league for other franchises to sign the three-time league scoring champion. Had one of his potential destinations, the Miami Heat, made a deal with the Rockets though, Udonis Haslem of the Heat revealed in NBA News today that he would have struggled to keep the guard in line due to Harden's off-court antics.
On the 'Complex Sports' podcast, Udonis Haslem expressed his feelings when he heard James Harden could be traded to the Miami Heat:
"When I woke up and seen that James Harden trade I couldn't believe it. I knew we weren't going to get him, you can't bring James Harden to Miami. As much as I wanted that to work out in my mind I was like there ain't no way. I would've aged 15 years trying to be his OG down here."
As hilarious as Haslem's response to the proposed James Harden deal was, the veteran's trepidation is well-warranted. Harden was a well-known party merchant while in Houston and received a fine from the league after attending a stripclub party prior to this season's training camps. Had the guard moved to Miami, Haslem evidently believes the temptations of the city could have proven too much for the player and the two would have been at ends with one another.
The way in which Harden departed Houston left a sour taste to what was a successful eight years with the franchise. As well as his activities off the court, James Harden was critical of his teammates after their loss to the LA Lakers last Tuesday, earning him a trade out of the Rockets with no return from his comments in the eyes of the front office.
James Harden's personality and the power he held over the Rockets franchise would ultimately not have worked in Miami.
Haslem believes this would have severely aged him had he been tasked with keeping Harden in line as one of the team's leaders off the court now that he no longer plays as many minutes. The Heat reached last year's NBA Finals with an all-for-one attitude on both ends of the court which Harden would likely have not fitted into.