Houston Rockets superstar James Harden responded to his former head coach Kevin McHale, calling him a “clown” for questioning his leadership ability. Per ESPN, Harden issued the response when asked by reporters about McHale’s comments, saying “he’s a clown, honestly.” As part of the NBA TV panel, McHale lauded Harden’s ability as a scorer and passer but criticized his leadership ability. The Hall of Famer added that with Chris Paul’s arrival, the Rockets will have a clear leader and Harden could “get back into just being able to hoop and play and stuff like that.”

McHale coached the Rockets from 2011-12 until the first 11 games of the 2015-16 season while Harden joined the Rockets after the Oklahoma City Thunder traded him before the start of the 2012-13 season.

With McHale’s guidance and Harden’s play, the Rockets advanced to the playoffs for three straight seasons. In 2015, the also reached the Western Conference Finals in 2015 where they lost eventual champion Golden State Warriors in five games.

Last season, Harden averaged 29.1 points, 11.2 assists, and 8.1 rebounds in 81 games as he helped the Rockets to a 55-27 record and a spot in the Western Conference Semifinal, where they lost to the San Antonio Spurs. He placed second to Thunder superstar Russell Westbrook in the MVP race. Harden now has a reliable backcourt partner in Paul, who was traded by the Los Angeles Clippers in the offseason for several players.

Rockets rout Shanghai Sharks

The Rockets displayed their firepower in a 144-82 rout of the Shanghai Sharks in an exhibition game recently.

Paul scored 11 points and issued 12 assists while Harden tallied nine points and 11 assists as the Rockets made 22 of 52 three-point attempts en route to the win. Trevor Ariza led the Rockets in scoring with 18 points to go along with ten boards while Eric Gordon scored 17 points off the bench. Center Clint Capela added a double-double with 16 points and 11 boards, Luc Mbah a Moute and Troy Williams added 12 points each while Nene had 10.

Rockets officially have new owner

The Rockets announced on their official website the formal takeover of Tilman J. Fertitta as the new owner of the franchise Friday after he received unanimous approval from the league's Board of Governors. Fertitta, the 10th owner in franchise history, said he’s happy to own the Rockets in his hometown of Houston, adding that it’s a dream come true.

“I promise to continue to make this city proud of the Rockets and to do what we can to bring home a championship,” added Fertitta, who paid $2.2 billion to Leslie Alexander to acquire the franchise. Alexander was the owner since July 1993.