James Harden forced his way out from another franchise with another drama-filled display. The star guard’s disgruntlement with the Brooklyn Nets left the team with no other option but to move him before matters became more toxic.
His behavior lost respect and connection with his teammates, who aired a visible sense of relief after his departure. The entire situation may have hit a breaking point after Harden possibly lied to get out of Brooklyn.
James Harden’s unhappiness created friction-filled enviroment in Brooklyn
Following Harden’s trade to the 76ers, several details have emerged concerning the fractured environment he generated in Brooklyn.
The 10-time All-Star reportedly had issues with his reduced role and offensive game plan under head coach Steve Nash. His desire to play elsewhere created internal friction with Kevin Durant forcing the franchise to pull the trigger on a move before things worsened.
The issues were beginning to mount, making the everyday dealings around the organization quite stressful. However, the straw that may have broken the camel’s back involved his actions in the final weeks with the franchise.
James Harden may have lied to push his way out of the door with the Nets
In the days leading up to Harden’s departure, he missed four straight games due to a hamstring-related injury.
The Nets kept the star guard out of the lineup, but that didn’t exactly sit well with his now-former teammates. During a recent appearance on The Ringer‘s “Real Ones” podcast with Raja Bell and Logan Murdock, The Athletic’s Shams Charania confirmed that Nets players and coaches didn’t believe Harden was dealing with a hamstring issue.
“The week before the trade deadline is really when James Harden started to sit games,” Charania said. “We saw what happened in Sacramento when he had four points. Then he started sitting games with what he and the team said was a hamstring injury.
“There was definitely a reason for people in that locker room to doubt whether he had a real hamstring injury. For sure that was a topic of conversation. That’s when it became a real possibility [he could get traded]. Brooklyn understood that we have a guy in James Harden that is checked out. The whole locker room knows it from Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and on down. We need to find a way to address it.”
Charania added that the situation could have possibly worsened if the Nets elected to keep Harden through the rest of the season. The 32-year-old had worn out his welcome, making the hamstring situation far from plausible for his teammates to believe entirely.
The 10-time All-Star experienced hamstring problems that forced him 18 games last season and reaggravated it in the playoffs. However, he hadn’t dealt with any health issues outside of a hand strain in recent weeks.
All that makes his teammates’ behind-the-scenes sentiment crystal clear that he lost all trust and support. These parameters forced the Nets’ hand to move off Harden before things became a truly toxic nightmare situation.
76ers need James Harden to lead the way
James Harden got his way to play for an organization he long wanted to join.
The pressure is on him to be the missing piece that elevates the 76ers toward NBA title contention. Before his arrival, star big man Joel Embiid was already putting together an MVP-caliber campaign, ranking second in the league with 29.3 points per contest.
Harden is one of the game’s most prolific scorers that will need to do much of the same to lift Philadelphia toward the ultimate goal. Injuries must not become an issue as it has over the last year. Regardless if he wasn’t being entirely truthful in Brooklyn, his new team needs him to lead the charge.