Ime Udoka Says Fred VanVleet Was A "Better Fit" Than James Harden For Rockets

However, Udoka stressed that he has nothing against Harden.

BYBen Mock
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2022 NBA Finals - Game Three

As part of a profile on Jalen Green, Ime Udoka has explained why he shot down talk of bringing James Haren back to Houston. "Nothing against James but Fred [VanVleet] is just a better fit. I coached James in Brooklyn. He's one of the smartest players I've ever been around. The words 'Ime doesn't want James' never came out of my mouth. It was, 'Let's look at the best fit.' If we want Jalen and the young guys to take the next steps, we need them to have the ball. As for me saying I don't want James, that was never the case. It was about fit," Udoka told ESPN.

The talk of Harden potentially reuniting with Houston burned fast and fierce at the start of the offseason. However, the rumors were cut off by Houston, Harden re-signed with the Sixers and pushed for a trade to the Clippers. Meanwhile, the Rockets gave huge contracts to VanVleet and Dillon Brooks to serve as veteran leadership for the Rockets' developing core.

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Harden Attends Training Camp

Meanwhile, James Harden has appeared at the Sixers training camp. There was speculation as to whether he would be sitting out as the team refused to trade him. However, he was present and participating earlier this week. However, the league is holding its breath for the other shoe to drop. Harden is expected to be disruptive at camp, a tactic he has used in the past to force trades out of unfavorable situations.

Elsewhere, GM Daryl Morey called for patience from fans. "Look, I mean, things need to play out. We feel strongly we have a winning team. We have a team that can win and make a lot of noise in the playoffs. I understand we need to prove that, but teams emerge. You go into last season and say a Miami and Denver were not even in the top three of teams that people thought could make the Finals. Look, we have a lot of questions to answer. Obviously, James is the big one. Coach talked about battles at different positions. But we feel we have the pieces," Morey said earlier this week at media day.

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About The Author
Benjamin Mock (they/them) is a sports and culture writer working out of Philadelphia. Previously writing for the likes of Fixture, Dexerto, Fragster, and Jaxon, Ben has dedicated themselves to engaging and accessible articles about sports, esports, and internet culture. With a love for the weirder stories, you never quite know what to expect from their work.