James Harden. Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports Oct 29, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden in plain clothes on the bench during the second quarter of a game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden made it official. He’ll be starting on Monday night, making his debut with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Harden used the word “definitely” when asked by ESPN if the start against the New York Knicks would indeed occur after going through a practice with his new team.

It was a lot of homework for the veteran point guard to learn so much about the offense in just five days, but he said he is more than up for the task.

“It feels good,” Harden said (per Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN) referring to his body after the most recent workouts. “The practices and things that you’ll be doing, like when you’re training for a game, is much more difficult than the game. So when you get in the game, it’s a lot easier. I’m just excited to get on the court.”

Harden was traded to the Clippers by the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday in a transaction that was very much embraced by him. He said during his time with Philly, he would make things uncomfortable until he was offered a trade.

“Philly [was] just changing my role knowing I can give more, knowing I can do more, but if you want me to be honest, it’s like being on a leash,” Harden said. “Like, me knowing, in order for us to get where we want to get to, I was going to have to be playing my best offensively whether it’s facilitating and scoring the basketball, and Joel [Embiid] as well.”

Harden did say he doesn’t expect a lot of playing time, but he’s not necessarily on a limit.

Head coach Tyronn Lue said that when Harden and Russell Westbrook are sharing the court, it’ll be Westbrook who will be the primary ball handler.

Here’s how the NBA world reacted to Harden’s upcoming debut:


About Jessica Kleinschmidt

Jess is a baseball fan with Reno, Nev. roots residing in the Bay Area. She is the host of "Short and to the Point" and is also a broadcaster with the Oakland A's Radio Network. She previously worked for MLB.com and NBC Sports Bay Area.