"I wasn't disrespectful to anyone," Harden said Friday in his first press conference as a member of the Brooklyn Nets, courtesy of SNY. "Those guys that just got there in Houston, I've been there a very long time. I've been through all the ups and downs with that organization. I wasn't disrespectful toward anyone. I just made a comment that the team as a whole wasn't good enough to compete for a title.
"At this stage of my career, where I am now, that's what I would love. I wasn't trying to be disrespectful to anybody, especially not to the organization. Like I said, I'm excited to be here in Brooklyn, excited for a new start."
Cousins, who signed a one-year deal with the Rockets this past offseason, ripped Harden's behavior after the guard declared the Rockets couldn't be "fixed" during a postgame interview the previous night.
"Just the approach to training camp, showing up the way he did, the antics off the court, I mean the disrespect started way before. So this isn't something that all of a sudden happened last night," Cousins said.
Harden said Friday he does hold some regret with how the saga unfolded.
"I regret (it) because I'm not the type of guy to - I don't need the attention, especially the negative energy, the negative attention. I've never been that guy. There were some things that I felt like out of my character but the ultimate goal was to get somewhere where I can compete, and here I am in Brooklyn.
"I have nothing but love and respect for that organization, that city, and everything they've done for me and my family. Much respect."
The eight-time All-Star could make his Nets debut Saturday against the Orlando Magic. However, Harden was forced to miss the team's practice Friday and cannot participate in any on-court activities until all players involved in the trade pass their physicals, ESPN's Malika Andrews reports.
Until then, Harden offered Nets fans an abridged self-description of the player they're getting.
"An elite player, an elite teammate, an elite leader," he said, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times.