Charles Barkley isn’t the biggest James Harden fan in the world.
The outspoken NBA analyst’s statement is like what he saw in 2022, when Harden forced his way out of the Brooklyn Nets and dismantled another team.
“When somebody wants to quit, you let them go,” Barkley said on TNT’s NBA All-Star Game Draft Show, where LeBron James and Kevin Durant chose their sides. “Don’t let them come back. I’m with you, KD.”
James was forced to cover his face with a clipboard to hide his laughter when Barkley talked about Harden.
Durant laughed too, choosing then-Utah center Rudy Gobert over Harden, then one of the NBA’s best scorers.
“I definitely need some size,” Durant said.
The NBA All-Star Game is dedicated to consistent offensive scoring, not defense.
Choosing Gobert over Harden was an obvious open shot for Durant, who played with Harden in Oklahoma City and Brooklyn when he headed to Philadelphia.
The Beard ended up falling to James’ team in the All-Star Draft.
“He hasn’t played in the game yet, is he healthy?” James asked.
“He got traded. He’s healthy now,” Barkley joked about Harden jumping ship.
At that time, he forcibly joined the Philadelphia 76ers and dismantled the Brooklyn Nets with Kyrie Irving and Durant as the core.
A disgruntled Harden forced his way to another team on Tuesday, leaving Joel Embiid and the 76ers behind, taking his aging talent with him to Los Angeles, where he teamed up with Kawhi Len Nader, Paul George and former Rockets/Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook join the now-superteam clippers.
Harden is 34 years old and has been selected to the All-Star 10 times. In his 14-year career, he averaged 24.7 points, 7.0 assists and 5.6 rebounds per game.
The 2017-18 NBA MVP has played for the Thunder, Rockets, Nets, 76ers and Clippers since entering the league in 2009.
Harden appeared to gain weight when he forced his way out of the Rockets.
He dealt with injuries with the Nets and then barely participated in the Sixers’ recent training camp and preseason schedule.