The Brooklyn Nets trading James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers came as a surprise after the Nets mortgaged their future last January to bring him to Brooklyn from the Houston Rockets. But extenuating circumstances affected Harden’s outlook on his future with the Nets. Kyrie Irving was only available to play road games, and Kevin Durant suffered a sprained MCL that held him out for nearly two months. This left Harden to shoulder much of the load for the Nets. Still fueled to acquire that ever-so-elusive first championship, Harden decided that Brooklyn wasn’t the best place to do that and requested a trade.
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Kyrie Details Feeling on James Harden Departure From Nets
The superstar trio of Harden, Durant and Irving played a grand total of 16 games together going 13-3 in that span. While it may go down as one of the biggest what-ifs in NBA history, Kyrie says that he harbors no bad feelings about Harden’s decision to join the Sixers.
“If that’s what James wanted then I respect his decision. That’s just what it is I wish him nothing but peace and love,“ Irving said of Harden’s decision to join the Sixers per Brian Lewis of the “New York Post”.
“We have a great friendship, but it didn’t work out. Wish things could have been communicated better for all of us as men; but hey, no hard feelings here with me or anything else.”
Kyrie Makes History Against Hornets
If Irving’s performance against the Charlotte Hornets was any indication of how he will play on Thursday, the Sixers could be in for a long night. Kyrie dropped a sizzling 50 points in a 132-121 victory in Charlotte. Even more impressive than the points he tallied, was Irving’s efficiency. The All-NBA guard shot 15-of-19 from the field, including 9-of-12 shooting from 3-point range. Per NetsDaily, his 19 field goal attempts rank second-lowest in NBA history for any 50-point performance, trailing Andrian Dantley (50 points on 17 field goal attempts) with the Utah Jazz.
Irving went into detail about his historic night:
“You just got to go into that deep place where you aren’t distracted by anything that’s going on and there’s a goal at hand when you step out there. I just get less talkative. I just have a look on my face that I’m just ready to go out there, do what’s needed for us to get this win, and join a collective group,” Irving said of his big night per NetsDaily. “We’re just sacrificing results. All results.”
“He’s incredible. He’s a career-highlight reel every night. We have a special player on our hands. Tonight, he was unbelievably efficient and difficult to defend,” Nets head coach Steve Nash said of Irving’s performance per NetsDaily.
“Although we’d like to think we had the game in hand, there were a couple of possessions he bailed us out from it getting close to single digits. There were some really big shots in the second half but overall, he’s just an incredible player and shot-maker.”
Big performances like this put in perspective just how dangerous Irving would be if he were a full-time player for the Nets. But the reality is that Irving is still a part-time player until he gets vaccinated or an exception is made for him. It will be interesting to see what the final ruling on his status is as the Nets eye a playoff berth.