James Harden’s continued absence has not done anything to help ongoing trade rumors, and that didn’t change on Tuesday.
Harden missed his third consecutive game on Tuesday with a hamstring strain. He did take part in the Nets’ morning shootaround, but did not address reporters other than to confirm he was not playing.
Harden has missed five of the Nets’ last seven games because of an injury. Teammates were unsure what to make of Harden’s slow return to the court.
“I’m not sure how long he’s gonna be out, but he’s getting better over time for sure,” DeAndre Bembry said, according to the New York Daily News. “Obviously we need him out there, but we need a lot of guys out there. At this point, I’m not sure how long he’s gonna be out, but it’s next man up mentality.”
The third member of the Nets’ “Big 3” has been the center of speculation that he could be traded to the Philadelphia 76ers before Thursday trade deadline. Reports throughout the past two weeks have painted a murky picture of where Harden’s head is at in terms of his happiness in Brooklyn.
The Nets have maintained that Harden remains committed to winning in Brooklyn and that they do not plan to trade him. Harden has not spoken to reporters since Feb. 2.
As for the players still on the court, they’re not paying any attention to the outside noise, according to Bembry
“We have a veteran team, so we’ve all seen (trade rumors), all been a part of it,” he said. “That’ll handle itself. We love to support, we love to be around each other. So we’re taking it day-to-day, not really worrying about any of that.”
Patty Mills told ESPN that the impact trade rumors have on players depended on the individual.
“I think it comes down to the individual and whether that person buys into what’s being said or not,” Mills said. “For myself as an example, to be able to stay away from things that could lead into distractions as a professional and someone that been here for a little bit, you try to limit all those distractions.”