Rockets' James Harden says there's no bad blood with Chris Paul, confident in Russell Westbrook partnership

Despite rumors that there was friction between All-Star guards James Harden and Chris Paul in Houston before the latter was moved to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Russell Westbrook, there is no bad blood between the two, at least according to Harden. 

"There was a lot of false talk," Harden said of the reports of tension between he and Paul, via the Houston Chronicle. "The negative media stuff and all that stuff that was going on and running, it wasn't true. Me and Chris had constant communication and we're good." 

In Harden's eyes the reported rift between the two guards was media-driven, and he personally never paid attention to it. 

"It wasn't upsetting to me because I knew the truth. We knew the truth. It wasn't upsetting at all," Harden said. "It was just pretty funny how guys can speculate or make up false stories on the TV and then you've got people believing it. That's where guys have to make sure their facts are true before they put stuff in the media or on national television.  

"For me personally, and I'm sure for Chris as well, we never paid any attention to it. And Chris has been unbelievable these last two years. He's helped me as a leader, as a mentor, just all that good stuff. I guess it's life. It's the business, how things don't work out. But he's a great dude. I have nothing negative to say about him."  

Though there is some speculation about how Harden and Westbrook -- two high-volume, ball-dominant guards -- will fit together in Houston's backcourt, Harden isn't concerned. 

"We played with each other in the NBA and the Olympics and all that," Harden said, via the Sporting News. "When you have talent like that, it works itself out. You communicate, you go out there and compete, and possession by possession, you figure things out. Throughout the course of the season, you figure things out. That's just what it is. When you have talent, you have guys with IQ, you have guys that are willing to sacrifice, it always works itself out.

"It's that trust factor. I trust him; he trusts me. With the group that we already have and the things we already accomplished, it should be an easy transition for him to be incorporated right in, and things are going to go."  

Harden and Paul played together for two seasons with the Rockets, and they were ultimately unable to reach their goal of bringing a title to Houston. With Westbrook now in Paul's place, the two former Thunder teammates will look to find more success than Harden and Paul were able to accomplish.   

Michael Kaskey-Blomain covers the NBA for CBS Sports. He has covered the league in some capacity since 2009 for a variety of outlets including Philly.com, ESPN 97.3, and 247 Sports. Michael hails from... Full Bio

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