No. 2: Harden leaving Houston adds to Damian Lillard’s legacy
In the player empowerment era, it seems there’s come a day in every superstar’s life in which they get exposed for reneging on loyalty promises. We experienced it with Kevin Durant a few seasons ago, and to a lesser degree, the Portland Trail Blazers are still licking the wounds that came with LaMarcus Aldridge’s departure.
This week, the pendulum swung at Harden’s expense.
On Sept. 2, 2017, the former MVP made a social media pact that he would never leave the Houston Rockets for another franchise. But as history has shown, all it takes is a few shots from Stephen Curry’s Warriors, and a few shots to one’s legacy to put that loyalty up for discussion.
To a degree, it’s understandable; at 31-years-old, James Harden has to know that clock is ticking. But in a roundabout way, it adds a few more pillars to Damian Lillard’s case as the NBA’s most loyal superstar, or even player for that matter.
Lillard and Harden both ranked among the top-10 in longest-tenured players with one team. Lillard himself now commands the No. 4 spot, tied with Bradley Beal, and trailing only: Udonis Haslem (with Heat since 2003), Stephen Curry (with Warriors since 2009) and Patty Mills (Spurs guard since March 2012).
As we know each of those three fell into championships fairly early into their NBA careers, which makes it much easier to stay put. And thinking in the future, it feels easier to trust Lillard’s word than some of his star counterparts.