James Harden’s future remains unclear after the Philadelphia 76ers reportedly have ended trade talks.
The 10-time All-Star will return to training camp at the start of the season, but his request to be traded left a sour taste in some mouths.
Former NBA champion Matt Barnes specifically offered a warning to Harden.
“I think James has to be careful because with all due respect, the NBA doesn’t need him no more,” Barnes said on an episode of Certified Smoke. “And I’m all for player empowerment, but he forced his way out of Houston, forced his way out of Brooklyn, now he’s trying to force his way out of Philly. He’s got so much talent and a lot of game left, could talk himself out of the league with his talent, which is crazy to think.”
Stephen Jackson, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce all joined in on the conversation.
Garnett referred to an instance that took place in 2018 when star forward Carmelo Anthony said he would refuse to be a sixth man in the following season.
“I’m not sacrificing no bench role,” Anthony told reporters after a postseason elimination game.
Not too long after, Anthony found himself in Portland.
Barnes referred to that instance as a humbling one, and the group all agreed it’s especially different when it’s an older player acting the way Harden is.
They referred to the league putting up with a lot more when “you’re young and hot.”
“We all feel like he has so much game left,” Barnes added. “You know, he’s not the player he was, but he’s still that 19-and-10-type guy, so he can still play. So, my thing with him is he just has to be careful.”