James Harden probably should not be running for borough president of Brooklyn anytime soon.
Retired ex-NBA All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire, who served as assistant coach of player development for the Brooklyn Nets, appeared Thursday on ESPN’s “Get Up.” In the appearance, Stoudemire tore into Harden, questioning the former MVP’s work ethic as well as his worthiness of a max contract.
“Not being in top shape, not taking your body seriously, not really being able to focus in on that in the offseason and getting yourself prepared through training camp and through the regular season,” said Stoudemire. “It takes a lot of determination for that to happen. I don’t think that happened for [Harden] this past offseason and throughout the season.
“If I’m the owner of the Sixers, I cannot commit to giving him a max deal,” Stoudemire added about Harden. “I just don’t see the dedication that I would need to see from my top 75 player. You have to be able to have a certain level of determination and focus on being the best player you can possibly be and also be there for your teammates when they need you the most … As a max player, I’m not gonna be willing to now give you a max contract if you’re not showing me that you can handle the situation.”
Stoudemire, who also revealed on “Get Up” that he is now no longer with the Nets, was hired in Oct. 2020 to work on the staff of his former Phoenix Suns teammate Steve Nash, now Brooklyn’s head coach. That means Stoudemire witnessed the entire Harden era in Brooklyn firsthand from the time that Harden arrived in January 2021 until Harden’s departure last February.
There were indeed some questions about Harden’s fitness and conditioning heading into this season, which he began with the Nets. On top of all the other issues that Harden reportedly caused in Brooklyn as well, it is no wonder that Stoudemire decided to let loose on him here.