James Harden Doesn’t Hold Back in Voicing Frustration Over Kevin Durant’s Contact-Tracing Situation

Kevin Durant James Harden Nets

Getty Brooklyn Nets stars Kevin Durant (left) and James Harden (right)

The whole thing didn’t add up for James Harden.

Kevin Durant, Harden’s Brooklyn Nets teammate, was forced to leave Friday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors in the third quarter due to COVID-19 contract tracing. That happened only after Durant was initially held out of the game due to the league’s health and safety protocols, and then cleared to return. Durant wound up playing 19 minutes and scoring eight points before he was yanked from the game again.

“It’s frustrating,” Harden told reporters after the game, via SNY, “especially (because) we follow the protocols, we get tested every single day. So I don’t understand the whole thing where he couldn’t play, and then he came on the court, and then they took him back. There was just a lot going on. There’s too much going on. It’s kind of overwhelming, especially when we’re in the midst of a tough game.”

Harden thinks Nets-Raptors should have been postponed

The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported shortly after the conclusion of the Friday’s game that Durant had tested negative three times in the past 24 hours. “Someone he interacted with this afternoon had [an] inconclusive test result before [the] game — then [a] positive result returned during  [the] game, so Durant was pulled out of caution,” Charania tweeted. “Contact tracing underway on Durant.”

That being the case, “the game should have been postponed, I feel like,” Harden said, via SNY. “If we’re talking about contact tracing, he was around all of us. So I don’t understand why he wasn’t allowed to play, and then was able to play, and then [he was] taken back off the court. If that was the case, we should have just postponed the game. That’s how I feel.”

The Nets wound up losing the game to the Raptors, 123-117.

“In the midst of it, it was tough,” Harden said. “Give Toronto credit. They made shots, they played well. But yeah, it was frustrating.”

It was just the fourth time in 11 games since the Nets traded for Harden that they lost. Brooklyn is now 14-10 in the season and third in the Eastern Conference standings behind Philadelphia and Milwaukee.

“These games are going to add up, especially if we’re talking about playoff seeding,” Harden said. “We’re talking about positioning ourselves, home-court advantage and whatnot, catching a rhythm — all of that. So I feel like — I don’t know. I don’t know. It’s overwhelming. It’s frustrating.”

Joe Harris, Jeff Green Agreed With Harden

The word Joe Harris settled on was “bizarre.”

“For [Durant] to not start, and then be able to come in, play, and then be taken out again, it literally just didn’t make any sense,” Harris said, via SNY.

The Nets guard/forward was then asked what that might mean for the rest of the team from a contact-tracing standpoint.

“I mean your guess is as good as mine,” Harris said. “I would have said, ‘Hey, if he’s sitting for contact tracing, what the hell — he’s with all of us on the court.’”

Jeff Green was similarly confused.

“I don’t get it,” the Nets forward/center said, per Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “They let him play, take him out. I guess they’ve got these protocols. … I don’t know. I’ve got nothing for you, man.”

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