Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks finally pulled the trigger on a trade that sent 10-time NBA All-Star James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers. Harden was traded nearly at the buzzer of the 3 pm trade deadline on February 10. It seemed grim that a deal between the Sixers and Nets would get done before the deadline, which was an outcome that the Nets were perfectly fine with according to NBA Insider Ian Begley.
“People in touch with the Nets on Thursday morning felt that the Nets were very comfortable getting to 3 pm on Thursday and moving forward with James Harden on the roster with the idea of trying to chase a title with a healthy Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Harden and them figuring things out in the offseason with Philadelphia 76ers and Harden,” Begley said per SNY. “They felt that the Nets really needed Philly to meet their demands from a trade perspective for them to get something done.”
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Details Reveal How James Harden Forced Trade From Nets
Harden had been on record multiple times stating that he was committed to remaining with the Nets for the foreseeable future. But according to Farbod Esnaashari of “Sports Illustrated” that all changed when Harden began to bump heads with his Nets teammates.
“In addition to friction between James Harden and Kyrie Irving over Irving’s availability, Harden also clashed with Kevin Durant on multiple fronts, including their ideas of the team’s culture. Many in [Brooklyn] questioned Harden’s commitment to the team prior to the trade,” Esnnashari said per his Twitter account on Friday.
Kyrie Sounds off on Harden’s Exit
The murmurs of Harden being traded to the Sixers initially just seemed like trade deadline chatter, but as the old saying goes where there is smoke there is fire. And eventually, those rumors came to fruition. But Kyrie Insists that there are no hard feelings between the Nets and Harden.
“Now that it’s official, I think we can say our piece to James and wish him well. Ultimately for me, I just want everybody to be happy and do things they love to do, and be a part of things you can see themselves being successful at,” Irving said to reporters per NetsDaily.
“It probably wasn’t here with us. He made a choice and we respect him for it. No love lost and now we welcome in the guys that are coming in. We’re excited. We have some things to look forward to for the team to continue to grow and continue to take the steps in the right direction to be closer as a team.”
Irving also says that Harden had the influence to ultimately get what he wanted. To be a Sixer before the trade deadline.
”I can’t say that we feel that in the locker room; but we get hints,” Irving continued per NetsDaily. Kyrie added that Harden had the power to force a trade, and “he put it on display.”
All together the Harden, Irving, and Durant “Big 3” only played 16 games together, going 13-3 in that span. It may go down as one of the biggest what-ifs in NBA history.