James Harden-Giannis Antetokounmpo beef adds new wrinkle to Warriors rumors

We have a new NBA beef and the Warriors soon could be in the middle of it. *Places tinfoil hat on*

In an exclusive interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, James Harden fired some daggers at reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. Harden was asked about The Greek Freak’s joke during the NBA All-Star Game Draft in which he elected to take Boston Celtics star Kemba Walker over Harden because he wanted «someone who can pass.»

Harden was not amused.

«I average more assists than him, I think,» Harden said of Walker. «So, I don’t see what the joke is. But I didn’t even see it. I don’t pay attention to stuff like that. I just know none of them can mess with me. When it’s all said and done, they’ll appreciate it more. I wish I could just run with seven feet and run and just dunk. That takes no skill at all. I got to actually learn how to play basketball and how to have skill, you know? I take that any day.»

My lord, someone get the fire extinguisher out. 

Antetokounmpo has become one of the best players in the NBA and has become the object of the Warriors’ affection as they look for a way to extend their dynasty past the prime of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

While the Milwaukee Bucks star won’t be a free agent until 2021, reports have surfaced claiming the Warriors acquired Andrew Wiggins and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ 2021 first-round draft pick (top-three protected) in order to be able to put together a package to trade for Antetokounmpo should he ask for a trade if the Bucks flame out of the playoffs.

Any trade package also would include the Warriors’ 2020 first-round pick, which should be in the top five.

While acquiring Antetokounmpo is a long shot, his new beef with The Beard makes him even more enticing to Warriors fans.

Harden and the Rockets have been trying and failing to knock off the Warriors for years, constantly hitting their head against a hatch held closed by the greatness of Curry, Kevin Durant and Thompson.  

The Warriors and Rockets rivalry has been the No. 1 hatefest in the NBA for years, but if the Dubs can somehow lure Antetokounmpo to the Bay it will go another level. Harden and Russell Westbrook trying to knock off Curry, «the guy with no skill» and the Warriors in the playoffs would be the definition of must-watch.

Sorry, I’ll take my tinfoil hat off now.

[RELATED: Barkley rips Draymond after his ejection in Warriors’ loss]

Harden also once again claimed no one in NBA history has seen double teams the way he has, clearly dismissing a whole history of dominant NBA players, including Curry.

«I feel like I’m the best player [in the NBA],» Harden told Nichols. «Yeah, throughout the course of the year I don’t see double teams for anybody else. Usually, you see a double team after you a 50-point night, 60-point night. If I have an 18-point night the next night I’m seeing double teams. Which is pretty cool. The NBA has never seen it before at half court. So I’m just trying to figure out how to obviously be great in that.»

Curry’s absence from the NBA this season clearly has made some forget his greatness.

The Warriors’ dreadful season is heading to a close. Once at full strength next season, there’s no doubt they’ll be on a mission to remind the entire league how dangerous they are — Giannis or no Giannis.

James Harden-Giannis Antetokounmpo beef adds new wrinkle to Warriors rumors originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area