The Brooklyn Nets traded for James Harden last summer with the hope that pairing him with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant would strengthen their chances of fully dominating the Eastern Conference and winning the NBA championship title. However, in the middle of his first season as a Net, Harden realized that he doesn't want to stay long-term in Brooklyn. Before the 2022 NBA trade deadline, "The Beard" talked to Nets owner Joe Tsai and general manager Sean Marks to express his desire to be traded to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Instead of losing him in the 2022 NBA free agency without getting anything in return, the Nets have agreed to send Harden to the Sixers in exchange for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and two future first-round picks.
Interesting Revelations About Kevin Durant-James Harden Relationship
When he arrived in Brooklyn, everything was expected to go smoothly for Harden since he would be reuniting with Durant, his teammate on the Oklahoma City Thunder for three years. However, it turned out that Harden and Durant weren't on good terms in their brief time together in Brooklyn. According to Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN, Durant and the Nets weren't thrilled to see Harden "out of shape" when he joined the team.
Knowing that he's still chasing his first NBA championship title, they were expecting Harden to be committed to conditioning and self-care. Unfortunately, the All-Star shooting guard didn't put much effort into improving his physique which Durant believed has contributed to his lack of explosiveness and sluggish play.
Nets Fail To Resolve Conflict Between Two Stars
As the season went deeper, the relationship between Harden and Durant worsened. Arnovitz revealed that no one inside the Nets' organization found a way to fix the issue between the two superstars which made them decide to engage in a blockbuster deal with the Sixers at the 2022 NBA trade deadline.
Harden, sources say, found Durant's slant grating and self-righteous. The two never resolved the conflict, and there was little that teammates, coach Steve Nash or Marks could do to mediate it. With each passing week, Harden became more isolated, with staff and teammates increasingly frustrated by the static.
James Harden Not A Fan Of Nets' Offense
It wasn't the first time that rumors surfaced about Durant and Harden's controversial relationship with the Nets. Aside from his physique, it seems like the two superstars also have issues regarding the Nets' offensive scheme. Days after the Nets and the Sixers completed the blockbuster trade, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report revealed that Harden would "roll his eyes" whenever the Nets designed a play for Durant.
Durant and Nash wanted a free-flowing offense, which Mike D’Antoni had helped install last season, but Harden preferred his patented iso ball. Brooklyn coaches noticed Harden would roll his eyes when an after-timeout play was designed for Durant, sources said.
Kevin Durant Knows Why James Harden Left
Despite the issues surrounding their relationship, Durant seemed to understand why Harden decided to demand a trade from the Nets before the 2022 NBA trade deadline. With his health issues earlier this season and Irving's vaccination status, Durant thinks that Harden has started to have doubts about the Nets' chances of reaching the NBA Finals and contending for the 2022 NBA championship title.
“You can try to look at it from his perspective: Kai’s not playing, and I’m injured. He hasn’t won a championship before,” Durant said, as quoted by Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News.