After the massive trade that sent James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers, much of the behind-the-scenes dysfunction with the Brooklyn Nets surfaced. The star guard became a huge thorn in the Nets’ side that was too much for the organization to handle.
Harden rubbed many of his teammates the wrong way with his push out of Brooklyn. The situation became quite reminiscent of his last few weeks with the Houston Rockets. As Harden begins the next chapter of his career with the 76ers, his former teammates displayed how they truly feel about him.
James Harden stirred up internal issues in Brooklyn
Over the last few weeks, the Nets became engulfed in constant chatter suggesting Harden wanted to play elsewhere.
Although the Nets kept the situation close to the vest, the internal conflict was evident. Recent reports emerged that Harden preferred to play for the 76ers, which quickly led to trade chatter heating up around the franchise.
More behind-the-scenes issues surfaced after the blockbuster trade to the 76ers involving Ben Simmons. Harden reportedly had a conflict of interest with head coach Steve Nash’s offensive philosophy. At the same time, he wasn’t fond of his reduced offensive role behind Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
The writing was on the wall, and his former Nets teammates quickly made that clear that they didn’t want to play with him anymore.
James Harden’s ex-Nets teammates aren’t sad to see him go
With the Nets finally pulling the rug from under James Harden’,s tenure it didn’t take long for true colors quickly to show.
Following the Nets snapping their 11-game losing streak with a blowout 109-85 win over the Sacramento Kings on Monday night, veteran guard Bruce Brown voiced some telling comments.
“The locker room there is a great vibe in there,” Brown said. “I don’t know what it is. Everything just shifted after the trade deadline. Everybody likes everybody.”
Brown’s remarks are an indirect shot at Harden as he clearly indicated the team’s mood changed after the trade deadline. If that doesn’t unsubtly single out the 10-time All-Star, then what truly does. These strong comments line up with Front Office Sports‘ Anthony Puccio report that many Nets’ players didn’t like the former league MVP.
Harden’s situation was beginning to turn sideways, becoming an overbearing cloud that left the Nets no other option than to move the star guard. His behavior behind the scenes reached a breaking point where general manager Sean Marks felt that breaking off the situation served both sides best.
Nonetheless, it’s crystal clear that Harden wore out his welcome in Brooklyn and his teammates simply had enough.
The 76ers provide James Harden a fresh start
With the Nets’ situation finally in the rear-view mirror, Harden can move forward.
The 32-year-old is now playing for the team that he originally wanted to join. Harden is heading into a situation where he must find cohesiveness playing alongside star big man Joel Embiid if the 76ers want to compete for an NBA title.
“I needed to be around guys who wanted to win and do what it takes to win,” Harden said via The New York Post. “The opportunity, the window is now. My job is to come out there and help the entire team win a championship this year and years going forward.”
Harden will have 20-plus games to figure out on-court chemistry with Embiid and new teammates. The trade also puts a tremendous change for Embiid as the star guard will mark the best backcourt player he’s played with in his career. He will need to take a reduced offensive role for Harden to flourish offensively.
Before the trade deadline move, Embiid was putting up an MVP-caliber campaign leading the 29.5 points. Embiid has anchored the 76ers’ push toward grabbing the fourth-best mark in the Eastern Conference, sitting 2.5 games behind the Miami Heat for the top spot.
Moreover, the onus is squarely on Harden to make it work because it’s where he wanted to play.