The NBA teams – in particular, Philadelphia – that think James Harden will be available at the mid-season trade deadline, well, the Brooklyn Nets have a bridge they’d like to sell you.
The Nets have made it clear that they will not be entertaining any offers for their All-Star guard as per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The 76ers have been in hot pursuit of Harden, hoping to reunite him with Daryl Morey, and have an All-Star of their own they could dangle as trade bait in Ben Simmons. There was even talk that the Sixers would be prepared to hang on to Simmons until the summer to make a deal with the Nets in return for the 2018 NBA MVP.
Nets’ owner Joe Tsai, along with general manager Sean Marks, are both confident that Harden’s insistence to them that he is committed to winning a championship in Brooklyn is enough to warrant a refusal to listen to overtures from other clubs.
In his 13-year career, Harden has never been a free agent, and during the preseason he refused to sign an extension, pushing his decision to the summer of 2022 when he will be a free agent for the first time in his career. He has a player option for 2022-23 on the four-year deal he signed while a member of the Houston Rockets.
James Harden on not signing an extension: “The contract, the money is going to be there. I don’t plan on leaving this organization and the situation we have. My focus is on the season and winning a championship. The contract and all that stuff will play itself out as it should.” pic.twitter.com/Dugwr89CD5— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) October 20, 2021
To stay with the Nets on a long-term deal, Harden could opt-in on his $47.4 million contract for 2022-23 and sign a four-year, $223 million extension at the start of free agency.
A report from Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer on Tuesday fueled the fire even more indicating that Harden was unhappy in New York – for a number of reasons ranging from the climate to displeasure with Kyrie Irving’s part-time status, along with being unhappy with the state income tax in New York, too.
Following Tuesday night’s loss to the Lakers, Harden said his frustration was with the team’s current situation.
“Of course I’m frustrated because we’re not healthy,” Harden said. “There’s a lot of inconsistency for whatever reason. Injuries, COVID, whatever you want to call it. But yeah, it’s frustrating. I think everybody in this organization is frustrated because we are better than what our record is and we should be on the way up.”
He added: “if you didn’t hear it from me, I don’t talk to anybody. I have an agent. If you didn’t hear it from me, then it’s reports.”
Harden is averaging 23.0 points, 10.1 assists and 8.1 rebounds for the Nets this season.