Kevin Durant’s True Interest in Sixers Trade Revealed

Kevin Durant and James Harden, Brooklyn Nets

Getty James Harden #13 of the Brooklyn Nets congratulates teammate Kevin Durant #7.

The idea of adding Kevin Durant to the Philadelphia 76ers was enough to make fans drool. But it wasn’t just a fantasy. Before Durant decided to return to Brooklyn, the Sixers were one of a handful of teams linked to the former MVP.

Initially, it looked as though the interest was one-sided. According to SNY’s Ian Begley, “there were high-ranking members of the Sixers who’ve felt strongly about engaging with Brooklyn on a Durant trade.”

Philadelphia’s interest in Durant is understandable. Every single team in the league would be immediately improved by adding the future Hall of Famer, even though he’ll be 34 this season.

But as it turns out, the feeling just might have been mutual.

Durant and Harden Were Spotted Together Overseas

Not only did the Sixers have some interest in Durant, but so too did the legend have an interest in bringing his talents to the City of Brotherly Love.

Over the weekend, when it looked like a trade for Durant might still go down, NBA guru Bill Simmons explained the root of the Durant-Sixers connection. And unsurprisingly, it all boils down to one familiar name.

“KD and Harden,” Simmons said on his Sunday podcast, “this is what I heard: They don’t talk after the trade. They basically go radio silent on each other. They run into each other. They hang out all weekend. And by the end of the weekend, KD is sniffing around on Philly.”

Where exactly did Harden and Durant run into each other? London, of course! Where else do mega NBA stars happen upon one another?

And shortly after Durant and Harden’s chance encounter across the pond, the two scheduled another rendezvous in Barcelona. The two were even spotted on the court together in Spain.

And it was sometime after meeting up with Harden that Philadelphia became a “desired landing spot” for Durant.

But according to Simmons, it wasn’t the Sixers that were in the pole position to land Durant in a trade. Rather, Simmons heard rumors of a Durant-Warriors reunion in San Francisco.

“Guy by the name of Joe Lacob . . . [is] pretty enchanted by the dynasty possibilities right now,” Simmons explained. Lacob, the Warriors’ owner, has navigated the club through one of the best runs in basketball history.

While neither the Sixers nor the Warriors were able to land Durant, at least one good thing came out of it: footage of Harden working hard this offseason.

Doc Rivers Sounds off on Harden Summer Training

Harden’s conditioning was a major storyline throughout the 2021-22 season.

Fortunately, he’s hit this offseason hard, committed to coming into this season at peak performance. Back in May, Harden’s trainer Chuck Ellis gave a glowing review of Harden’s performance in the gym.

And more recently, head coach Doc Rivers opened up about Harden’s offseason workout routine, providing an update that should be music to Sixers fans’ ears.

“It’s been great,” Rivers explained on The VC Show With Vince Carter. “He’s working — he’s working his butt off. I think about nine of the guys were in town last week, and they worked out every day together. When you start seeing that kind of stuff, that’s the guys. That’s the players getting each other. When you see that, that’s a good sign. He works out with our development guys, and they report back that he’s in great shape.”

Harden, who turns 33 on Friday, will be a major key to the Sixers’ season.

Coming into this season at peak health will be necessary to see the Sixers advance past the Eastern Conference Semifinals for the first time since 2001.

Read More