Kyrie Irving Takes Subtle Jab at Sixers’ James Harden

Kyrie Irving, James Harden

Getty Kyrie Irving #11, Brooklyn Nets, James Harden #1, Philadelphia 76ers

It’s been almost a year since Kyrie Irving and James Harden were teammates on the Brooklyn Nets. Because Harden’s time in Brooklyn did not end well, it is not surprising that there may be some hard feelings between him and Irving. Irving hinted at that during his postgame presser on January 15.

When asked about how the Nets will respond to Kevin Durant’s MCL injury this year compared to last, Irving took a subtle jab at the Philadelphia 76ers star.

“Well, I’m consistently in the lineup. That helps. We also don’t have anybody halfway in in the locker room,” Irving said.

Last season, there were reports of tension in the Nets’ locker room. Jake Fischer reported that there had been some conflicts between Harden and Durant after the Nets traded Harden to the Sixers for Ben Simmons, among others.

“KD didn’t want to get rid of James,” one person familiar with the two superstars told Fischer. “But he knew it was over.”

“Kevin was like: ‘F–k it. James isn’t bringing s–t,” another source said. “I don’t think that would have happened without Kevin making that decision.”

The trio of Durant, Harden, and Irving played a total of 16 games together in Brooklyn.

Harden Thoughts Nets Had No Structure

In an interview with Yaren Weitzman of Fox Sports, Harden detailed what he believed was wrong with the Nets.

“I don’t mean to, like, just down talk to anybody or whatever. It was just there was no structure, and even superstars, they need structure. That’s what allows us to be the best players and leaders for our respective organizations,” Harden told Weitzman.

Harden also talked about his label as a quitter during his time with the Nets and compared it to Durant’s trade request last offseason.

“I just feel like, internally, things weren’t what I expected when I was trying to get traded there. I think everybody knows that. And I knew people were going to talk and say, ‘You quit’ and all that stuff, but then the following summer, the other superstar there [Kevin Durant] wanted to leave. So it’s like: Am I still the quitter?”

Harden also questioned the notion that his time in Brooklyn was a failure.

“Who said it didn’t work out?” Harden asked Weitzman. “We just didn’t have enough talent. There were better teams than us. But if we had won, everything would have been cool.”

Harden Says Irving’s Role in Trade Was ‘Very Minimal’

During his introductory press conference, Harden said that Irving’s impact on Harden’s departure from the Nets was “very minimal,” while detailing their friendship and the impact Irving’s absence, due to him refusing to get vaccinated, had on the Nets.

“Me and Kyrie are really good friends,” Harden said. “Whatever he was going through or still going through, that’s his personal preference, but it definitely did impact the team, because, originally, obviously, with me, Kyrie, and KD on the court, winning covers up a lot of that stuff, but it was unfortunate that we played 16 games…it is what it is.”

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