With the news of James Harden’s trade to the Brooklyn Nets, rumors have emerged as to why Harden didn’t join the Golden State Warriors’ roster. Apparently, the Warriors tried to make a move for Harden during the offseason, which didn’t come as much of a shock.
In fact, ex-Warrior and now new teammate of Harden, Kevin Durant, supposedly told Harden before making his decision that due to his own experience with the Warriors, that he wouldn’t recommend joining the team.
Durant Warns Harden
It was definitely known that Harden wanted out of Houston. Of course, a lot of teams were trying to acquire the All-Star shooting guard, even teams where Harden might not have fit.
Without All-Star Klay Thompson, the Warriors aren’t as much of a threat as they were considered during the offseason, but the Warriors have a core that could make them playoff contenders. However, to get Harden, the team would have to ship off a player like Thompson or Draymond Green and doing that doesn’t seem like a great move on the Warriors part.
Maybe the trade didn’t work out due to the two parties not being on the same page. According to Bill Simmons and Ryen Russillo of the Ringer, sources told them that Durant, who is close to Harden, said that playing under head coach Steve Kerr was not ideal. The two were joined by ESPN writer Jackie MacMullan:
Simmons: The sleeping giant of this whole Harden sweepstakes was Golden State. And I don’t think they were in it. But if they had decided to get into it …
Russillo: I heard he, um … he was not … he and [Kevin] Durant are close, and Durant wanted him to leave (Houston). So I think there was some communication …
Simmons: There was some Steve Kerr stuff.
Russillo: Yeah, that you might not want to play for him. Which sounds insane that Durant could complain about anything with Golden State, but it sounds like he did.
MacMullan: Well, but the only complaint that Kevin Durant had about Golden State was he wasn’t Steph Curry, and he never was gonna be Steph Curry in that market. And no matter what he did and how many championships they won, Steph Curry was still the guy.
The Warriors tried to make a move on Harden early on, however no official deal was put on the table and eventually the Warriors backed off completely as they lost Harden’s consideration.
Personal Issues With Kerr
Durant’s issue with Kerr apparently comes from differences about how the offense should be run. No one is sure exactly what type of offense Durant wanted in Golden State but reportedly Draymond Green wasn’t the only one on the Warriors that Durant had an issue with.
During the tail end of the 2018-19 season, Kerr and Durant were not exactly on the same page. Even during the first-round series against the Clippers in KD’s final season, Kerr was yelling at Durant from the bench to be more aggressive, and Durant yelled back, that he knew how to play and not to tell him anything.
Durant was obviously not satisfied during his final year in Golden State, and he seemingly put the blame on Kerr. Now Kerr and Durant are supposedly in good standing with each other.
Durant’s advice to Harden may have played a role in Harden’s decision not to include the Warriors on his trade list. Either way, this isn’t the first time that we’ve heard of Durant’s dissatisfaction with the Warriors.