Nets ‘Big 3’ Star Could Headline Blockbuster Trade for 3x All-Star: Report

James Harden Kyrie Irving

Getty Brooklyn's James Harden takes the ball as Kyrie Irving runs behind him in the second half against the Miami Heat at Barclays Center on January 23, 2021 in New York City.

Brooklyn Nets star James Harden was virtually non-existent for the team in their Eastern Conference Semifinals matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks. But that was because he returned prematurely from a hamstring injury after Kyrie Irving got injured in Game 4. After an offseason where Harden had nearly six months to rehab, Nets fans thought they would get the MVP caliber player that they had grown accustomed to seeing during his time with the Houston Rockets. Unfortunately, that has not been the case so far as Harden is averaging just 20.3 points per game this season. This is his lowest points per game average since the 2011-12 season when he was still coming off the bench for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

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Harden on List of Players Sixers Would Trade Ben Simmons For

Following their elimination by the Milwaukee Bucks, Nets general manager Sean Marks said that the team’s priority was to get their ‘Big 3’ inked to long-term extensions. While Durant inked a 4-year/$198 million extension this summer, Harden and Irving have not and their contracts are quickly expiring. Harden has remained adamant about his desire to remain with the franchise, but there is still a possibility that he could elect to leave Brooklyn this Summer. Sam Amick of “The Athletic” reports that one possible destination is the Philadelphia 76ers in a swap for three-time NBA All-Star Ben Simmons.

“In a word, no. It does not appear any deal will happen soon. As it stands, Simmons isn’t going anywhere until Morey is able to swap him for a truly elite player. And yes, in case you wondered, the Sixers have an actual list of such names internally,” Amick writes.

“As you may have heard by now, Portland’s Damian Lillard is not only on said list but somewhere near the top. Ditto for Brooklyn’s James Harden, the former Rocket with whom Morey tried unsuccessfully to reunite with in January and who, by the way, could come to Philly via sign-and-trade this summer if he decides to shock the basketball world and leave Kevin Durant behind. Also high on the list: Washington’s Bradley Beal. Those kinds of guys.”

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Stephen A. Smith Calls Out James Harden

Before being traded to Brooklyn last January, Harden had averaged 30 points per game or more in three consecutive seasons, winning three straight scoring titles. It is a major reason why despite not having the services of Kyrie people still saw Brooklyn as a serious title contender. But nearing the quarter mark of the season, “The Beard” still is trying to put the pieces together as he tries to recover from the hamstring injury that he suffered in the playoffs. Despite the fact, ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith isn’t letting him off the hook.

“You’ve got a guy in James Harden – not the first year, this is his second year in a row. Mad love for James Harden, you’ve got to get your act together, bro,” Smith said during a recent episode of “First Take.”

“You ain’t James Harden right now. Averaging 19 points per game, you sitting there struggling from the field. You had 24 points last night, it was the most meaningless 24 points that I’ve ever seen from the career of James Harden. You are a superstar, and you are not looking like one.”

Slowly but surely, James Harden has improved as he has led the Nets in scoring for the past two games, but he will have to stay consistent if the Nets want to keep their title hopes alive.

 READ NEXT: Trade Proposal: Brooklyn Nets Ship Kyrie Irving West for Starting Guard

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