James Harden doesn’t have much to say about the mega-trade that shipped his former Brooklyn Nets teammate out west.
The Philadelphia 76ers guard spoke about the February 5 trade that sent Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks, a deal that could have significant ramifications for the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Harden was asked about the deal following Philadelphia’s loss to the New York Knicks on Sunday, offering only a terse response.
“It’s a trade that happened,” Harden said, via the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Other Sixers Share Thoughts on Kyrie Irving Trade
While Harden didn’t have much to say about Irving’s trade, other members of the Sixers did have more to share. Head coach Doc Rivers complimented Irving, but was curious how he would fit alongside another ball-dominant guard in Luka Doncic.
“Obviously, Kyrie is an amazing basketball player, and you’re putting him with another amazing basketball player [in Luka Doncic], so we’ll see how it works,” Rivers said.
Others stayed focused on their own season. Like Harden, Sixers forward Tobias Harris didn’t concern himself too much with the trade.
“Nobody on the Sixers got traded today, so I don’t care about that,” he said.
The Irving deal could have an impact on Philadelphia’s title hopes. The Nets sit just 2.5 games behind the Sixers, who currently hold the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. Though Brooklyn came into the season as a title contender, Irving’s trade could now send them into a rebuild and there are reports that Kevin Durant could be the next one on the trade block.
There were reports that the Sixers once had interest in Durant, though a league executive told Heavy Sports insider Sean Deveney that it could be tough for the two sides to make another deal. Last season’s Harden trade didn’t work out so well for the Nets, as the addition of Ben Simmons has not worked out the way Brooklyn had hoped it might.
James Harden, Kyrie Irving Not on Best of Terms
Harden’s blunt response came after reports that he and Irving didn’t always get along in Brooklyn. There were rumors of tension prior to Harden’s trade to the Sixers at last season’s trade deadline, and Irving appeared to take a shot at his former teammate earlier this year.
Speaking to reporters in January, Irving noted the difference between this year’s Nets team and the one from last year.
“Well I’m consistently in the lineup, that helps,” Irving said. “We also don’t have anyone who is halfway in in the locker room.”
As Sam Quinn of CBS Sports noted, that was seen as a shot at Harden, who was accused of being disinterested through his final stretch with the Nets.
The animosity reportedly went both ways. Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, Harden was also unhappy with Irving only playing part-time due to his vaccination status.
“Harden has been vocal to Nets figures and close contacts alike about his frustrations regarding Kyrie Irving‘s part-time playing status,” Fischer reported. “A recent injury to Kevin Durant has exacerbated the issue, leaving Harden to shoulder the majority of the offensive burden during Brooklyn home games.”