Harden pushed for an opportunity to reunite with his former teammate following seven years apart after the Oklahoma City Thunder decided to move their stars for draft picks. It was a win-now move that has Harden excited about playing with Westbrook again.
"I've been knowing Russell since I was 10 years old. We grew up together," Harden said Friday. "Obviously, when I left Oklahoma City, I was sad. But then Houston made a home for me. Rockets is my home. And now an opportunity became available where Russ wasn't happy. Now we're back."
He added: "It's going to be a lot of fun this year, I guarantee you that. There's going to be a lot of excitement."
The Thunder franchise drafted Harden one year after selecting Westbrook. The pair - along with Kevin Durant - reached the NBA Finals in 2012. Oklahoma City fell to the Miami Heat in five games and Harden was subsequently traded to Houston, where he became one of the craftiest scorers in league history.
Neither Harden nor Westbrook has reached the NBA Finals since 2012. The Rockets have made it to the Western Conference finals twice in the last five seasons, while Westbrook's Thunder were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs in each of the last three campaigns.