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James Harden is supposedly unhappy in Brooklyn and has “voiced his frustrations regarding Kyrie Irving’s part-time status,” according to a report by Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer. Makes sense for the Beard to be upset, given his unfinished résumé.
However we should be clear here: James Harden’s frustration should be with the Nets and the city of Brooklyn for their crummy vaccine protocols, not Irving.
James Harden has not enjoyed living in Brooklyn and has voiced his frustrations regarding Kyrie Irving's part-time playing status, per B/R's @JakeLFischer
Harden has made it clear he intends to test out free agency even if it leads him back to the Nets pic.twitter.com/7bhI9QnGkO
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 25, 2022
The Brooklyn Nets are still in decent shape when it comes to the playoffs, since the Eastern Conference is so weak. The problem is that Kyrie won’t be available for home playoff games because of NYC COVID protocols, not because he doesn’t want to play. The Nets will certainly need him during the playoffs. Harden and Kevin Durant can’t do it all.
Teams that’ve won titles in the past, regardless of talent, have always needed every player on their roster. That’s not going to fly with the 2018 MVP though, in large part because he literally has to win a title to cement his legacy. If he doesn’t, he’ll always be remembered as a regular season star who choked in the playoffs.
This leaves room for the Beard to land elsewhere. Could it be the Boston Celtics, who have a surplus of talent at the guard and forward position but who need an upgrade at point guard? Or will the Philadelphia 76ers manage to pry Harden by offering Ben Simmons, who hasn’t played a single minute this year?
Boston native Bill Simmons weighed in:
The Ben Simmons reports are becoming more and more ludicrous. Oh Brooklyn is gonna be leaping at the chance to trade Harden for him this summer? Give me a break. You float pie-in-the-sky stuff when you have no leverage. Philly has no leverage. He’s legit damaged as a trade asset.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) January 24, 2022
He’s not wrong. What sense would it make for the Nets to acquire Ben Simmons for James Harden? Why would the Nets want a player who can’t shoot a basketball in exchange for an MVP candidate?
And we’re pretty sure the Brooklyn Nets have no desire to help a division rival build a contender. There’s a better chance Harden ends up in Shanghai than with the Sixers.
Where will Harden end up though?