Harden’s widely-reported dream of joining former teammate Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn seemed to make perfect Superteam sense when it was first revealed, but some rival executives who are tracking this situation closely have grown extremely skeptical of the Nets scenario ever transpiring. Irving, like Durant before him, downplayed the prospect of this happening during his media session on Monday.
While the Sixers have signaled a willingness to include All-Star guard Ben Simmons in trade packages for Harden, those talks have come nowhere close to a deal, sources said. The Nets are limited by the Rockets' interest in their personnel, and likely would need a third team to emerge in talks, sources said. So far, the Rockets steep asking price of young players and pick hasn't moved any of their discussions into an advanced stage.
Harden’s widely-reported dream of joining former teammate Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn seemed to make perfect Superteam sense when it was first revealed, but some rival executives who are tracking this situation closely have grown extremely skeptical of the Nets scenario ever transpiring.
Salman Ali: James Harden updates from @Adrian Wojnarowski: -Houston isn't interested in the Nets package for Harden -If Brooklyn wants Harden, they'd have to pursue a three-way deal to net Houston a blue chip prospect -Philadelphia remains the natural trading partner for Houston because of Ben Simmons pic.twitter.com/XuQP8WoSiX
The Nets have been involved in plenty of rumors -- particularly surrounding the trade availability of superstar James Harden. Brooklyn is reportedly atop Harden's wish list of preferred destinations. Irving said he and the Nets have tried to limit the outside noise. "There's no control that we have as players to manage what's being said in terms of rumor mills and what's being reported, so let's just leave it at that," Irving said. "James is a great player, we wish him well, and I just want him to be happy and secure in who he is as a man first. And then as a basketball player, whatever happens between those conversations is between them first."
Alex Schiffer: Irving asked about James Harden rumors: "That part of our business is going to be what it is...James is a great player and we wish him well." Adds players can't control the rumor mill when it comes to trades.
The Rockets have known for years how important Harden’s legacy is to him and how badly he wants to win a championship. Westbrook’s arrival came off the backs of Harden’s belief that Paul wasn’t a suitable partner to lead the Rockets to a title, sources say. Prior to Houston’s flurry of offseason moves, Harden had told Houston that he didn’t see a realistic path to a title and would prefer to join Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn, sources say.
Salman Ali: Per @Adrian Wojnarowski, the Rockets and Nets have had no conversations on a possible James Harden trade for weeks. Houston has made it clear to the league they want a "monumental haul" back for Harden. pic.twitter.com/MTwz0DpQjC
With rumors swirling about Harden having demanded a trade, and having stayed away from training camp to help force one, his status has become the elephant in the room. It is one the Nets are trying to ignore. “I guess we let the elephant be,” Nets coach Steve Nash said of the Harden rumors. “I love our guys and hopefully they all feel really valued and wanted and respected. We have so many guys that bring so much to the table. “When I’m in the gym with them every day I feel fortunate. So hopefully they feel that, and they don’t feel that we’re looking out the window at greener pastures, because we love what we have here and hopefully our behavior every day emits that and guys feel comfortable, valued and supported and striving for something individually and collectively.”
“How do we handle James Harden not going to practice?” LeVert deadpanned. “For us, for myself, I don’t really have anything to do with James Harden not going to practice. That doesn’t concern me. “I’m focused on the team, the Nets, myself, trying to be the best I can be so that we can be better as a team. I don’t really focus on all of that stuff. That really has nothing to do with me.”
That player isn’t there because he’s exercising his leverage. With league sources saying the Nets are content to go into the season with their current roster and wait Houston out, Harden is forcing the Rockets’ hand. If Harden is successful in forcing a move, it would almost certainly see the Nets giving up a combination of Jarrett Allen, Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert. But when asked about Harden’s power move, LeVert feigned ignorance and tried to deflect the question.
Adam Zagoria: "I don't really focus too much on James Harden not going to practice. That has nothing to do with me." @Caris LeVert on the Harden trade rumors pic.twitter.com/1Ep4iYC4X2
On Tuesday morning, Elhassan’s Sirius XM NBA colleague, Frank Isola, doubled down on the report that Harden wants out, during Sirius XM’s morning NBA show The Starting Lineup. “We had that confirmed by somebody pretty plugged in that Harden definitely wants out. And he told them trade me to Brooklyn. And I’m only doing it if I’m the Nets if I can trade Kyrie Irving.”
Well, with all seemingly quiet on the Harden front, Brian Lewis of the New York Post appeared on NBA TV to provide some clarity on the situation. To avoid spoiling the video, let’s just say that fans who are behind a trade for the former MVP will find themselves disappointed. “I wouldn’t necessarily say that they (the Nets) have moved on from the idea of adding Harden, and it’s not dead in the water,” said Lewis. “It’s more floating. In other words, Houston — from what I understand — is not in a rush to move him. I think they accept the fact that’s what going to end up happening. . . They would love to bring as many teams to the table as they can to get the best deal.”
CJ Mc McCollum: “I like LeVert. I like Dinwiddie, I like Jarett Allen. I like the picks. But for Houston, you went all in on James, you brought in James, like his preferred players." Don't you have to ask for Kyrie in return? CJ McCollum: “Yeah, for Kyrie I would do it.”
Hardwood Paroxysm: Corrected: Nets are currently favored to start the season with Harden at @PointsBetUSA. You can get Rockets at plus money.
Brian Lewis: Brooklyn GM Sean Marks doesn't address James Harden rumors on @YESNetwork: "It's a crazy business we live in. Things are thrown your way all the time. You have to be flexible and pivot." #Nets #Rockets #NBA
While there are reports circulating that the Nets and Rockets have reached a verbal agreement, sources have denied that is the case. Though most scenarios have the Nets parting with combinations of Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Allen and multiple first-round picks, they obviously don’t want to give up the farm.
Another question to consider: How much support among the Nets is there for a Harden trade? As SNY reported on Sunday, people around Harden contacted some Nets about a Harden-to-Brooklyn trade recently. There was support for the idea among the Nets contacted, but the support wasn’t universal, SNY sources say.
There are obvious ties to both Brooklyn and Philadelphia. Harden loved the years he spent with Durant and the Thunder early on in his career, constantly being called the glue that held the team together, according to a source close to Harden. During the Rockets’ 2018 trip to the Bahamas prior to training camp, Harden would watch hours of old Thunder games in his room. The presence of D’Antoni on the Nets’ staff as Steve Nash’s top assistant, along with the abilities of Kyrie Irving to take some of the ballhandling and scoring load off of Harden, would be an added bonus.
The Brooklyn Nets are prepared to go all-in for James Harden of the Rockets. Well, as long as they don’t have to give up one of their current stars. The Nets are throwing the proverbial “kitchen sink” in an effort to acquire the Houston Rockets superstar, according to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor. “The Brooklyn deal, it’s good.” O’Connor said on The Ringer NBA Show. “If you get all of those picks — and I’ve heard they are throwing the kitchen sink at Houston for James Harden — and [Caris LeVert], and [Spencer] Dinwiddie, that’s a really strong offer for a player who wants to leave.”
“It’s not a long shot,” O’Connor said about Harden being on the Rockets next season. “What’s the incentive to make a deal now? They could wait…and potentially have more opportunities to trade him for more than what Brooklyn can offer. Brooklyn can offer all of their future first round picks, all of their future pick swaps, Caris LeVert, Jarret Allen, and that’s it.” “For the Rockets, is this the deal you want to make now?…You don’t just trade guys like that for offers that aren’t no-brainers, and Brooklyn right now isn’t offering a no-brainer…It’s just not there yet.”
The idea is for the Nets to create a super team around Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Harden, the team believing they have a three-year window with the superstars and they’re all in while at the table. One league source close to the situation said, “They [Brooklyn] not only want to win, they want to ‘dominate.’”
While no details have emerged on what the Nets would give up, league sources believe the team would have to package “the house” – which would revolve around up-and-coming star Caris LeVert plus the likelihood of players like Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Allen and Nicolas Claxton. League sources also added that Brooklyn will have to surrender an array of first-round picks in the coming years for any of this to come to fruition.
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.”
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
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.
Mark Berman: NBA sources confirm multiple reports that James Harden (@James Harden) does want to be traded, but only to the @Brooklyn Nets where he would be reunited with Kevin Durant (@Kevin Durant).
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.”
As a result, Woj said the Rockets have options. “They can start the season with Harden on their roster and play this out and try to build a market for him, but right now, James Harden, in James Harden’s mind, he wants a way to Brooklyn.”
Brian Lewis: Jarrett Allen’s name is right in the middle of the trade rumors for James Harden. But the #Nets center – speaking from the Meals + Math Thanksgiving event – said he’s staying focused on the task at hand: Winning an #NBA championship in Brooklyn.
Brian Lewis: Jarrett Allen: “At the end of the day I’m still going to be playing basketball. Whenever I go into the gym, whatever happens, I’m there, I’m present, I’m ready to play for the #Nets. I’m ready to learn from everybody there & go about my stuff & just say grounded as much as I can”
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.
One possible destination Harden could land is in Brooklyn with the Nets, but according to SNY sources, the support for such a trade wasn't universal. People around Harden contacted some Nets players to discuss the possibility of the perennial All-Star joining the team, per SNY sources. Some were supportive, but not all players contacted about a potential Harden-to-Brooklyn deal were in favor of it, sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN Sources with @RamonaShelburne and @Zach Lowe: As Houston’s James Harden considers his future with franchise, one possible trade destination is rising to top of his list: Brooklyn. The idea of reuniting with Kevin Durant and joining Kyrie Irving is resonating with Harden.
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.
Farbod Esnaashari: A source is telling me that the Nets have engaged in talks with the Rockets. James Harden for a variation of: Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert, Taurean Prince, and Jarrett Allen. Nothing finalized, but Harden to Nets seems like real possibility. If finalized, announced on Nov 22.
July 4, 2022 | 5:27 am EDT Update
“The Lakers have yet, I’m told, to be aggressive in trying to put a deal together to get [Kyrie] from Brooklyn. That may come, that may evolve with time. But so far right now, there’s no traction really on deals with either Irving or Durant.” 🗣️ @wojespn
John Clark: I’m told despite reports, the Sixers are not pursuing Kyrie Irving I’m told there were discussions internally about Kyrie and other players, but the Sixers never entered into actual talks with Brooklyn As far as Kevin Durant, remember he has a big say in where he will wind up
Those who know Durant cite two primary factors: a rocky Nets season that ended in a first-round playoff sweep; and the franchise’s soured relationship with Irving, his close friend. Durant doesn’t see much hope for a revival under the circumstances, those sources say. And he’s unhappy that his friend is unhappy.
As one insider sympathetic to Durant noted, “Kyrie sabotaged everything,” but Durant is reacting more to the effects than the cause, and he now views the Nets as unsalvageable. “There’s no use in (him) taking sides when it’s all too far gone,” the person said. In essence, the Nets were right in principle, but wrong in practical terms, failing to understand that making Irving upset “was going to drive Kevin away.” It’s instructive to note that for all the chaos, all the havoc and all the stress, Durant still wants to play with Irving, according to league insiders.
Chris Fedor on Collin Sexton: The Dallas Mavericks have been rumored as a team that may have interest because they lost Jalen Brunson. They don’t have cap space. So it would have to be a sign-and-trade worked out with the Cavs. And I’m told that the Cavs are not very attracted to any of the pieces that Dallas would be willing to send back to them in a potential sign-and-trade.
The difference in the tax penalty — somewhere around $15 million extra in the immediate, a whole lot more throughout a longer-term deal — caused Lacob and the Warriors to balk. It stung several in the organization, per sources. They’d found Payton and grown to not only love the person but also understand the value of his unique skill set. It translated to winning. For the first time, they’d failed to retain one of their own due to an unwillingness to meet a financial demand.