The downside of being a valuable player is becoming a v…

The downside of being a valuable player is becoming a valuable trade chip, with the young center aware his name is being linked in trade rumors for James Harden. “At the end of the day I’m still going to be playing basketball. Whenever I go into the gym, and whatever happens, I’m there, I’m present,” said Allen, 22. “I’m ready to play for the Nets, I’m ready to learn from everybody there and just go about my stuff and just stay grounded as much as I can.”

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SiriusXM NBA Radio: "If you look at Kyrie... Harden if this happens, and then Kevin Durant, it's going to be extremely difficult" Hall of Famer Ray Allen tells @TheFrankIsola & @Scalabrine that if James Harden were to end up in Brooklyn he doesn't think it will work with Kyrie Irving & Kevin Durant

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After turning down the chance to become the first $50 million a year player in league history, Houston Rockets guard All-NBA guard James Harden has made it clear to ownership that he's singularly focused on a trade to the Brooklyn Nets, sources tell ESPN. As Harden's conversations with the Nets stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving ramped up in recent weeks on the West Coast, sources say the Rockets made a pitch for him to sign the maximum allowable extension -- two years and $103 million on top of the remaining three years, $133 million on his current deal.
So far, Harden's determination to get to Brooklyn has resulted in no progress toward that end. Houston and Brooklyn have been in contact, but so far have engaged in no meaningful dialogue, sources said. The Rockets want a massive return of assets for Harden, and are willing to be patient to find that in the marketplace. So far, there's no indication that the Rockets believe the Nets could deliver a package that fits that profile.
Harden believes his window to chase championships in Houston has ended, and constructing a super team with the Nets represents his best pathway to a title, sources said. Harden can become a free agent in 2022 if he opts out of the final year of his contract -- and sources say that Brooklyn represents a two-year play to win a title before deciding on the next steps in his career.
In an interview Monday afternoon with his ESPN colleague Ashley Brewer, Adrian Wojnarowski said James Harden remains set on joining Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn, but he suggested Houston may not be ready to deal him right now. Instead, he raised the possibility that the Rockets may wait in hopes they can “create a market” for Harden.
“Because Harden is still under contract to Houston, there’s not a great deal of leverage to force your way out, but his focus is getting to the Brooklyn Nets,” Woj said, noting that he and KD have spoken. “He’s spent recent weeks out in L.A. working out with Kevin Durant, with Kyrie Irving. That’s his intention now. For Houston, if they’re going to trade James Harden, they have made it clear to Brooklyn and around the league that they want a massive haul back. That means young players, that means draft picks. that means salary cap relief.”
Shams Charania: Rockets star James Harden wants to be on a contender elsewhere, and Brooklyn and Philadelphia are believed to be his top desired trade destinations, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium. Houston is fully comfortable keeping Harden and Russell Westbrook into the season.
“If you look at Kyrie… Harden if this happens, and then Kevin Durant, it’s going to be extremely difficult for them to get along together,” Allen said in an interview on SiriusXM NBA Radio. “Personality-wise they might be great, but then on the court it could cause trouble or problems, which ultimately could affect their relationship if they don’t decide that they want to win, and scoring and having the ball in their hands does not matter to them.”
“There’s a responsibility that comes with playing the game now and you’re hoping to win a championship,” Allen said. “It’s going to take, specifically Harden, because now you got Kyrie who’s primarily a ball handler, both of them to figure how do we share the responsibility and how do we operate as a team? If they’re willing to do that, it could be amazing what they accomplish. But if not, it could be a train wreck.”
Nets Daily: ESPN updated its story on @James Harden and Nets: "The idea of playing together again came up during Harden and Durant's offseason workouts together in LA. Sources said the players talked openly about whether the combination could work and how a trade facilitating it could work."
The idea of joining Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn is resonating with Harden, sources said. Durant and Harden -- past teammates with the Oklahoma City Thunder -- have recently discussed the possibility, but there have yet to be trade discussions between the two front offices.
Houston Rockets GM Rafael Stone has consistently been telling teams that the Rockets plan to "run it back" with Harden this season, sources said. The Rockets have seemed inclined to listen to offers on Harden, sources said, although that's customary for most teams about most players in the league. If the Rockets did decide to engage in trade talks on Harden, they've privately made it clear that they would require a monstrous return of players, draft picks and pick swaps.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: The Rockets continue to tell teams that they plan “run it back” with Harden this season. So far, there have been no trade discussions between the Rockets and Nets.
Storyline: James Harden to Nets?
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September 28, 2022 | 9:20 pm EDT Update
“I didn’t talk to coach much at all this summer, either,” Booker continued. “The times that I did, he stressed the fact that getting away and having that feeling of missing the game and missing your team. It’s a long season. We’re with each other every day. I think it’s fine to get away from each other. “We’re about to spend the next seven, eight months right on top of each other every day. I mean, we see each other more than we see our families. I think it’s always good to get away, get quiet and remove yourself from this industry and lifestyle.”
VanVleet is hoping he’s able to say the same thing once he reaches the latter stages of his playing career. “It’s a 12-month season now, year ‘round,” said a noticeably slimmer VanVleet, about to begin his seventh NBA campaign. “Hopefully I can stay on this regimen the rest of my career. “There’s always gonna be new changes and things you have to adjust and adapt to as you try to grow. I’ve had a hell of a run so far, so to continue to try to keep growing is going to be challenging every year but I’m up for it.”
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Beverley pointed out that he shot 39% on catch-and-shoot 3s with Minnesota last season — in the same range as Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, who connected on 39.5% of his catch-and-shoot attempts. “Numbers don’t lie,” Beverley said. “Elite catch-and-shoot 3-point shooter, obviously. My defense has always been at the forefront, because that’s what people see. But when it comes down to the numbers, I shoot with the best of them in the league.”
Not everything is the same under Mazzulla. He said after his first practice that he’s carried over the structure of Ime Udoka’s practices, all the way down to their timing. But the way he runs them is going to be different. Mazzulla likes to roam around, trying to find somewhere to be useful when everything is operating on autopilot. He’s still trying to get used to the view from his perch after spending years at the ground level in the typical assistant role. “There’s similarities, but there’s some differences as well,” Brown said. “But at the end of the day, this group has been together for a while, so we hold each other accountable for what we need to do and the energy level practice gotta be at every single day.”
While it’s hard to imagine the Celtics making an overture at this point of the year and not submitting a compelling enough offer to lure Larranaga back, they will explore other options as well. When asked Wednesday about the potential maneuver, Mazzulla skipped the confirm or deny part and went right into a generic explanation of his thought process. “I think for me, it’s more about just studying our environment and figuring out what we need to help our staff and not just considering myself, but considering what do our players need?” Mazzulla said. “What are they familiar with and what are they looking for on our staff? And so I think we’re just going to evaluate that and figure out where we are.”