The Nets aren’t buying into any of the chatter over James Harden’s unhappiness with the organization, and they won’t be engaging in any sort of trade talks for the NBA superstar before the Feb. 10 trade deadline.
Harden has insisted to ownership and the front office that he is committed to staying in Brooklyn and winning an NBA title there, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported during NBA countdown and wrote in a subsequent story. The new information comes amid massive speculation over the frustration of Irving in regards to a number of issues with the Nets and Brooklyn.
“James Harden has repeatedly told management, ownership, those in the organization that he is committed to being a Net,” Wojnarowski said during Wednesday’s NBA Countdown. “He wants to win a championship there and more than that the ‘Big Three’ in Brooklyn — Kevin Durant, James Harden, Kyrie Irving — that what they say publicly is what they also say privately, which is when they’re together, they believe they’re unstoppable.”
In a follow-up story that appeared on the World Wide Leader’s website, Wojnarowski added that the Nets would not engage with any teams — including the Philadelphia 76ers who have a well-known interest in bringing Harden to Philly — that would want to make a deal for the third member of Brooklyn’s “Big 3.”
Woj says James Harden has expressed his commitment to Brooklyn’s front office/ownership. pic.twitter.com/nJUQGsiQ1l
— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) January 27, 2022
Harden acknowledged that he was frustrated with what has gone on this season, but essentially denied a report from Bleacher Report that indicated he was frustrated with Kyrie Irving’s part-time status, Steve Nash’s rotation and life in Brooklyn. Harden contended his frustration came down to his desire to win.
Nets coach Steve Nash told reporters that he believed Harden was still happy to be in Brooklyn, but he was frustrated because the team hadn’t been playing great basketball.
“We’ve had a lot of injuries, a lot of illness, a lot of guys in and out of the lineup and a lot of chop and change, That can be frustrating, for sure,” Nash said. To not have that kind of consistency to build on and we haven’t had our best performances. We had a few, but ever since the COVID returned it’s been very average basketball overall. We have higher expectations and it’s frustrating, but I think James is happy here.”
The Nets have been without Kevin Durant for the previous five games and Kyrie Irving isn’t eligible to play at home because of his refusal to take the COVID vaccine, needed to meet New York City’s current mandate. Harden missed Wednesday’s game against the Denver Nuggets, but is expected to be in the lineup on Saturday when the Nets get back on the road.
Harden has had to take on a much bigger role for Brooklyn with Durant injured. He had a 33-point triple-double in Brooklyn’s loss to Los Angeles on Tuesday.
“It is a challenge,” Nash said about the balancing act of when and how much to use Harden. “We would like to protect him more but he’s a competitor, he wants to be out there so we try to have our little tug of war. And you know, I think that’s why at times we like to ask him to miss games so he can regenerate and be a little bit safer as far as being ready to go when the playoffs begin.”