James Harden: ‘Have you ever seen me not play because of load management?’

Though load management is a trend in the NBA right now, James Harden wants no part of it.

The Houston Rockets star said on Friday — just one day after Kawhi Leonard’s load management saga ended (for now) in Los Angeles — that as long as he’s physically able to play, he’ll be out on the court.

“If I’m hurt, of course I won’t play,” Harden said, via Sports Illustrated’s Michael Shapiro. “Even if I’m a little banged up, I try  to push through it to a certain extent.

“Have you ever seen me not play because of load management?”

Harden has almost always been on the court for the Rockets. He’s missed just 29 games in his seven seasons in Houston, and averaged at least 35 minutes per game during that time, too. 

The load management debate came to the forefront of the NBA this week when the Clippers announced that Leonard would sit out the front end of back-to-back games — a decision that drew immense criticism. The Clippers were even fined $50,000 from the league after coach Doc Rivers said he “feels great,” which contradicted both what his team and the league said previously about Leonard dealing with a minor knee injury.

He missed their narrow loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday, then returned to the court on Thursday for their 107-101 win against the Trail Blazers. He dropped 18 points in the fourth quarter on Thursday, too, and — according to Portland coach Terry Stotts — looked “well-rested.”

Though Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said he and his staff have thought about a load management-type schedule for Harden in the past, the thought hasn’t been mutual.

“It’s been a consideration,” D’Antoni said, via Shapiro. “He’s never considered it.”

By the way Harden sounded on Friday, he isn’t likely to consider that move anytime soon, either.

While it’s the growing, and controversial, trend in the league, James Harden isn’t a load management fan. (AP/Brandon Dill)

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