NBA Rumor: James Harden Trade?

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James Harden on his stint in Brooklyn: 'It was a lot of ups and downs'

Let’s talk Brooklyn for a second, how would you sum up your short stint in Brooklyn? 
James Harden: Uh, it was a lot of ups and downs. I appreciate the Nets and the city for what they’ve done for me in that year and a half. This is a business and for me, I think my happiness is the most important thing so I had to make the best decision for myself and for my family. But yea, I appreciated the time in Brooklyn.  Do the “what if everyone was healthy” thoughts linger in your head? 
James Harden: Yea I think everybody thinks that. Everybody thinks about ‘what if, what if, what if’ but in reality, things don’t work off what if.

James Harden fires back at Tyronn Lue on free throw narratives

There’s been a lot of narratives out there lately with what has gone on the past couple years, do you feel like you have something to prove this postseason in Philly? 
James Harden: No, I don’t. I don’t. For me personally, I always want to go out there and play well and contribute in whatever way I need to contribute but for me, it’s going out there and playing my game, trying to help my team win. I don’t feel any pressure, I don’t feel any of that.  So when you see people like Ty Lue comment that you wouldn’t be a Top 10 scorer without free throws, do you just laugh at stuff like that? 
James Harden: I don’t even pay attention to it. Free throws are a part of the game. You look at who leads the league, Joel and Giannis, what about if you take away their free throws? I don’t understand what that comment meant. Free throws are a part of the game. It’s on the defense to have discipline and not foul. That’s what coaches should be teaching their players. For me I don’t pay attention to it, I just try to go out there and make an impact on the game in a positive way every night.
11 months ago via MSN

Dirk Nowitzki: Players forcing their way out is not the way to go

“It’s definitely new,” Dirk Nowitzki said on SI’s Crossover podcast. “We always felt like we the players didn’t have enough power at the beginning of my career (in 1998), and the owners had all the power, could make all the moves. And now it’s almost shifting like a little bit too much. I think there should be like a happy medium. But now the players forcing themselves out, to me is not the way to go, either.”

James Harden on Sixers debut: 'I'm extremely happy'

The final verdict on the Philadelphia 76ers trade for James Harden won’t come for months — maybe even years. Until then, every moment Harden and Philadelphia’s MVP-frontrunner Joel Embiid spend on the court together will be something of a Rohrsarch test. Some will see chemistry, others calamity — sometimes both will be visible in the same game. There was plenty to glean from Harden’s debut for the Sixers Friday night in a 133-102 blowout win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. But the enduring image from this night, the one that jumps out from behind The Beard, was the bright smile on Harden’s face. “[I’m] extremely happy,” Harden said postgame. “Extremely happy.”

Friday night Harden paid off that trust — and then some. He finished with an efficient 27 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds, hitting 7-of-12 from the floor and 5-of-7 from behind the arc. According to Second Spectrum, the Sixers averaged 1.58 points off of Harden’s touches — the second-best mark of any Harden team in a game in which he had at least 20 touches in the last eight seasons. “I think it’s like anyone with a new group,” Morey said. “You realize you’re the new guy. You want to fit in and then show what you can do. Everyone has watched James play for many years and knows what he’s capable of. “When you’re getting to know new teammates, I think those early interactions help. Early play on the court really helps.”

Kevin Durant the one pulling the trigger on James Harden trade?

By Thursday morning, Durant dialed Nets general manager Sean Marks, sources said. While Durant had initially resisted swapping Harden for Simmons, Harden had finally forced his hand. Brooklyn’s spiral of losses and Harden’s freelancing behavior created an untenable situation. “Kevin’s the one that pulled the trigger with this,” another source with knowledge of the situation said. “Kevin’s the one that said, ‘Do this deal.’ There was growing concern that this entire season would be lost and then they’d lose James for nothing.”

In a misguided attempt to protect his reputation, Harden reportedly tried to avoid requesting a trade. Yet, he couldn’t help but make abundantly clear he wanted to leave. Eventually, Harden reportedly requested a trade from Nets owner Joe Tsai and general manager Sean Marks – then got dealt to the 76ers. What did Harden say in the end about why he actually wanted out? Marks: There’s a lot of those conversations that obviously have to remain private, as you would expect and everybody understands. And if James wants to allude to those decisions and speak for himself, obviously, totally happy for him to do that. James has been upfront from day one with, you know, the clock is ticking for him. He wants to win a championship. And we do too. And if he feels like this was not the right place to win a championship and we felt like we could continue with our goals of being that last team standing by making a trade, that’s why we made the deal.

Kevin Durant on James Harden trade: ‘I’m glad we’re able to get some of this noise away’

“James doesn’t have to explain anything to anybody,” Durant said before the game Saturday against the Miami Heat. “He’s his own man. He makes his decisions on his career by himself. He doesn’t owe anybody an explanation, and I wasn’t looking for one. “I’m just glad that we got this thing done and now we’re able to move forward and get some of this noise away, and I’m sure he would feel the same way. But from around our team and around our group, there’s noise about what may happen. So I’m glad we can push through that.”

“I think once a person gets to that decision of ‘I’m unhappy,’ I think he’s gone through a lot of steps to get there,” Durant said. “So no matter what I say or try to convince someone — I’m not saying I did this, but this is just my theory on this — no matter what I say or do to try to convince someone to change their mood from being unhappy to happy, I think that’s when I’m pretty late to the party. “He’s made his decision. I’m sure people make their decision before they get to that mode of being unhappy. I didn’t have any conversations with James up until then. I thought everything was solid. I don’t do any convincing. I’m sure you make those choices and decisions on your own as an individual. Me as a friend, I just have to accept it.”

Sixers-Nets trade aftermath: Kevin Durant, James Harden were hardly communicating

Beyond the rampant skepticism about the severity of his latest hamstring injury, on top of the ever-present questions about his substandard conditioning and how much it contributed to his unending hamstring troubles as a Net, Harden has been a brooding presence for months.  League sources say there were times before Durant’s injury that the two stars, for reasons unclear, were hardly communicating — followed by the chaos of the past few Durant-less weeks when Harden stopped connecting with anyone to passive-aggressively convey he no longer wanted to be there.

 But there are teams out there — I’ve heard from a few already — that believe owners and league officials are determined to explore the feasibility of working new salary sanctions into the next collective bargaining agreement to dissuade another highly compensated player from taking Harden’s lead and essentially going on strike, like he just did twice in a span of 13 months in Houston and Brooklyn, to force his way to a new team.

James Harden repeatedly told Sean Marks he wanted to be a Net long term

Relationships with NBA stars can be delicate, but rarely are they mysterious. Little stays a secret within the NBA community, and Harden was quickly hedging on his future with the Nets, sources said. He kept telling Tsai and Marks he wanted to stay long term, but simultaneously started canvassing player agents for advice on an eventual exit strategy to Philadelphia.

Meanwhile, the trade deadline was inching closer. Morey made it known that he’d be interested in a Harden-for-Simmons swap. In public, the Nets claimed they weren’t entertaining any deals for Harden, but in private, according to sources, the two sides started negotiating around the beginning of February. The Nets knew that Harden wanted to leave in the offseason, preferably for the Sixers, and that the Sixers wanted him. They just didn’t want the news becoming public. “I don’t need this stuff affecting our locker room,” Nets general manager Sean Marks told an associate this week.

Brand told Harris he didn’t think the Sixers needed to bring in someone else, that he was confident in himself and his group. But, he added, after more than 20 championship-less NBA seasons, both as a player and as an executive, what he wanted most was to win a title, and also, he’d actually gotten to know Morey in the bubble — they had lunch one day and sat next to each other during a Sixers-Rockets game — and Brand believed Morey could help both him and the organization. “If you can get that type of guy,” Brand told Harris, “you gotta do it.”

Morey and Rivers had also been colleagues in Boston for about 18 months, and Rivers’ son, Austin, had spent two seasons playing for Morey’s Rockets, an arrangement that came together after Doc sold Morey on Austin’s ability. Morey wanted Rivers to be the Rockets’ next coach and believed Rivers was interested in the job. Rivers was scheduled to meet with the Sixers on Friday in Philadelphia and then travel to Houston on Sunday to talk with the Rockets.

“Morey went out of his way to connect with Embiid early on,” a source close to Embiid said. The two FaceTimed the day of Morey’s introductory news conference. They played tennis together. Embiid, for his part, was eager to accept the role Morey was offering, even asking Morey to lunch. “[Embiid] has a real interest in the salary cap and team-building strategies,” the source close to Embiid said. “And he really enjoyed talking to Daryl about all of that stuff.”

So why would James Harden want to break that up? Well, part of the reason was reportedly Kyrie Irving, according to The Athletic’s Joe Vardon. The two did not seem to get along, per Vardon’s reporting. And things came to a head, particularly, when Irving chose not to get the COVID-19 vaccine and missed games because of it. “Harden has said publicly he was frustrated the Nets weren’t playing better. He saw how much the Nets need Irving on the court, all the time, and did the math on how nuts that would be to play home playoff games without Irving, even though Irving isn’t hurt… “I’mma give him the shot,” Harden once joked of Irving. Now that seems like less of a joke.”

Later on Friday, NBA Insider Chris Haynes provided more insight into the inner workings of the deal on Harden and his manager’s side. “I don’t know if they knew for sure (he’d get traded), but obviously they knew thing were in the works for a few days now,” he told NBA on TNT. “I was around this Nets team for the last few weeks. They kept downplaying the fact that Harden didn’t want to leave, even though everyone was feeling otherwise. “That was a talking point that they were trying to relay to everybody and downplaying all the hooplah that was coming out. “But it was serious hooplah. James did want out, he just didn’t feel the fit was right for his talents at that time. He felt like this is the best move for him and his career at this time.”

Harden is hopeful that 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey secures a trade for him prior to Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET NBA trade deadline, but Morey and Nets general manager Sean Marks have yet to become engaged in serious dialogue on a deal, sources said. There’s still an expectation that the sides will communicate Thursday and the possibility of a deal remains, but both teams are left measuring the risk-reward of a Harden deal, sources said.

Adrian Wojnarowski: “I think Brooklyn is prepared for the idea that they’ll just treat James Harden, if his plans are to leave, treat it like Toronto did Kawhi Leonard. And say ‘this is probably a one shot deal. We want to win a championship. Our best chance is to do that.’ Who knows what happens when Harden gets back with Kevin Durant. They start playing together again the way they had planned to from the beginning. They’ve been separated because of the injuries.
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January 30, 2023 | 4:11 am EST Update