Steve Nash was asked last week whether James Harden sitting out with a ‘sore hamstring’ meant a trade was in the works. The Nets head coach denied that suggestion, and then told the media how much Harden wants to be in Brooklyn.
But reports today from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst now say James Harden is “pushing hard” for a trade to the Philadelphia 76ers. I mentioned at the time that we should take Nash’s remarks with a grain of salt, and sure enough, he flat out lied.
“I can’t tell you how much James Harden wants this,” Windhorst said. “He is screaming in every way he possibly can ‘I don’t want to be here, get me out of here.'”
James Harden is pushing for a trade to Philadelphia, per Brian Windhorst
"I can't tell you how much James Harden wants this..He is screaming in every way he possibly can 'I don't want to be here, get me out of here.'"😳
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) February 9, 2022
It’s now clear that Steve Nash was buying the Brooklyn Nets’ front office time to pull the trigger on a deal. Alerting sports networks that Harden wants out this badly would only diminish his trade market value, and now that the cat’s out the bag, we now know the Nets are trying to land Ben Simmons.
Sure, half the internet thinks Simmons is a bum because he can’t shoot a basketball and quit on the 76ers after last year’s playoff collapse, but he would be a solid get for the right team. A team with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving running the wings won’t necessarily need a scorer running the point, would they? Ben Simmons is also 6-foot-10 and a stout defender who would allow Durant lighter defensive assignments to preserve his health through a long playoff run. The fit in Brooklyn makes sense for Ben Simmons, and James Harden now seems to believe his best bet is with Philadelphia.
At some point, James Harden is going to have to look himself in the mirror. He ran every star he’s ever played with out of town until he left Houston himself. Now he’s leaving the Nets. He’s playing alongside Kevin Durant, arguably the greatest scorer of all time. And now he believes pairing with Joel Embiid unleashes championship-level Harden? It could work in theory, however Harden needs to make some kind of commitment to reassure us that he won’t bail on Embiid two years from now.
The NBA trade deadline is coming quickly. Expect a deal to get done before 3 pm Thursday, or else it’ll get ugly out in Brooklyn.