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James Harden Arrives In Los Angeles Clippers, Welcomed In Locker Room


Russell Westbrook shook hands and gave a hug to his former Houston Rockets colleagues shortly after James Harden and P.J. Tucker entered their new locker room in Los Angeles Clippers.

As of late Tuesday night in Los Angeles, the planned trade between the Clippers and the Philadelphia 76ers was still pending, but as soon as Harden and Tucker emerged from their SUV at the Crypto.com Arena loading dock, the Clippers welcomed them.

Lawrence Frank, the team president, met and escorted the two players to the Clippers’ locker room. Steve Ballmer, the team owner, approached Harden and Tucker shortly afterward to shake hands.

Although Westbrook and Kawhi Leonard of the Clippers, as well as coach Ty Lue, stated they couldn’t comment on the move before it was official, Westbrook seemed to be in favor of it.

“Right now, James and P.J. off-limits. I got nothing for you until it’s official,” Westbrook said with a smile and a grin after LA beat the Orlando Magic 118-102 on Tuesday night.

Westbrook made it plain when asked if the smile indicates that he is satisfied while saying he cannot discuss the contract.

“Yeah,” he repeatedly said. “I mean, s—, why wouldn’t I be? Yeah, excuse my language, but definitely, definitely happy.”

Westbrook and Harden reconnected in the locker room before the game. Together, the two were members of the Rockets and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Breaking out from his usual pregame routine, Westbrook joked with Harden that he could stay in the locker room on the opposite side, where Harden’s new locker would be.

Before facing the Magic, Tucker and Harden eventually sat next to Paul George and Westbrook to catch up for more than an hour.

When a reporter asked Harden how enthusiastic he is in the locker room, he said, “You don’t understand.”

Harden also sang “You Dropped a Bomb on Me” by The Gap Band, which was playing in the adjacent trainer’s room, as he made his way through the locker room.

It is anticipated that on Wednesday, the deal will officially close. Nevertheless, Harden and Tucker most likely won’t play against the Los Angeles Lakers that night.

Following Wednesday’s contest, the Clippers will have four days off before they open a three-game road swing against the New York Knicks on Monday. The Clips can use those four days as an abbreviated training camp for Harden and Tucker.

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