The Brooklyn Nets traded three first spherical picks, 4 decide swaps, and gave up each Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert to land celebrity guard James Harden from the Houston Rockets simply weeks into the beginning of final season. Harden spent the primary few weeks in Brooklyn taking part in himself into form, however finally regarded just like the MVP candidate of outdated, placing up All-NBA stage manufacturing for a Nets crew that not often had all three of its superstars accessible.
Harden would finally injure his hamstring within the first minute of the primary sport in opposition to the Milwaukee Bucks within the second spherical of the playoffs. He would return later within the collection, however clearly wasn’t wholesome. The Bucks eradicated within the Nets in seven video games and went on to win the championship, however because the offseason began Brooklyn was pegged because the odds-on favourite to win the 2022 championship.
Nothing has gone proper for the Nets since these preseason expectations have been set. Kyrie Irving’s refusal to get vaccinated saved him out of the lineup all collectively for months earlier than the crew lastly allowed him to play highway video games. Kevin Durant sprained his knee and could possibly be out as much as six weeks. Joe Harris may be out of the 12 months with an ankle damage. Harden’s personal play has slipped as effectively, both due to the lingering results of his hamstring pressure, the league’s new guidelines adjustments, or a mixture of each.
The Nets at present discover themselves because the No. 7 seed within the Japanese Convention, a far cry away from the place they have been imagined to be. Because the Nets have dropped down the standings, rumors of Harden’s frustration have grown loud. Now ESPN is reporting the veteran star is doing the whole lot he can to depart Brooklyn forward of the commerce deadline — with the Philadelphia 76ers rising as a severe suitor.
ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst went on Get Up and confirmed the loud hypothesis that had been rumbling by the NBA for days: Harden isn’t blissful in Brooklyn, and needs to be traded on the deadline. The 32-year-old guard is about to be a free agent after the season, and rival groups consider he’ll be on the transfer this summer time if he isn’t traded now.
The Philadelphia 76ers are after Harden for apparent causes. The Sixers have their very own weird storyline occurring with All-Star ahead Ben Simmons holding out all season after his notorious struggles in final 12 months’s playoffs. A Simmons for Harden deal makes a lot sense on paper, and Windhorst confirmed each side are speaking. Windhorst mentioned the 76ers and Nets are within the ‘deal zone’ because the commerce deadline approaches Thursday at 3 p.m. ET.
Harden is doing everything he can to force his way out, in keeping with Windhorst.
“I can’t inform you how a lot James Harden desires this,” mentioned Windhorst.
Windhorst suggests the best way Harden performed on the Sacramento Kings was a sign he desires out. Harden has subsequently not performed in any respect for the Nets.
“He’s screaming in each means he probably can ‘I don’t need to be right here, get me out of right here.’”
Windhorst provides that there could possibly be extra penalties for the Nets in the event that they don’t commerce Harden on the deadline.
“That’s what has spurred this into being: James Harden’s primary feeling ‘I don’t need to be right here anymore.’”
Harden hasn’t performed due to a hamstring pressure since a Feb. 2 loss to the Kings, the place he completed with 4 factors on 2-of-11 capturing in 37 minutes.
Watch a clip of Windhorst discussing the Harden-for-Simmons rumors right here.
Philadelphia lead govt Daryl Morey has a protracted historical past with Harden relationship again to their time along with the Rockets. The Sixers even have arguably the main candidate for MVP this season in Joel Embiid. If the deal doesn’t get accomplished by the commerce deadline, the expectation will likely be that Harden results in Philly this summer time.
Whereas the Nets’ season has been a catastrophe up to now, there’s nonetheless hope they will get wholesome in time for the playoffs. If Harden and Durant are at full energy, Brooklyn will likely be tremendous formidable even when Irving can solely play in highway video games.
Adrian Wojnarowski went on ESPN hours after Windhorst’s report and mentioned the Nets and Sixers will not be at present speaking. “Proper now, there’s no negotiation occurring between Philadelphia and Brooklyn […] The concept that they’re going backwards and forwards that’s been surmised by some, I don’t consider that to be correct.”
Will the Nets actually hand over Harden midseason? Within the closing hours earlier than the commerce deadline, the whole NBA is ready to see if this blockbuster deal will truly occur.