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Is it time to trade for James Harden?
CAN THE WARRIORS' OFFSEASON GET EVEN MORE UNPREDICTABLE?!
As we’re deep in the doldrums of the NBA offseason waiting for the return of some good ol’ Warriors basketball, I like to completely check out of basketball talk. When you write for 10 months out of the season on the latest and most hip news happening around the league, it’s pretty refreshing to stay out of basketball social media rage wars.
But when I stumbled upon this interesting tidbit about James Harden’s relationship with the Philadelphia 76ers dissolving, I had to do a double-take:
Wait didn’t Harden JUST force his way to Philly? It was only February 2022 that the Brooklyn Nets sent the Bearded One out of New York:
"I don't mean to, like, just down talk to anybody or whatever. It was just, there was no structure and even superstars, they need structure," Harden said. "That's what allows us to be the best players and leaders for our respective organizations. ... I just feel like, internally, things weren't what I expected when I was trying to get traded there. I think everybody knows that."
Tough! Here’s the details on how that trade went down:
The Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers agreed to a blockbuster deal just hours before the trade deadline, with James Harden and Paul Millsap going to Philadelphia and Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round draft picks going to Brooklyn, the teams announced Thursday.
The relationship between Harden and the Nets, meanwhile, broke down in recent days, with sources telling Wojnarowski that Harden had declined to formally ask for a trade, fearing the backlash of doing so for the second time in a little more than a year.
Disgruntled superstar James Harden said the Houston Rockets are "just not good enough" after the team's second consecutive blowout loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night, adding that he doesn't believe the team can improve enough to be a contender.
"I love this city. I literally have done everything that I can," Harden said after the Rockets' 117-100 loss. "I mean, this situation is crazy. It's something that I don't think can be fixed."
Harden made it clear to owner Tilman Fertitta before the season that he did not believe in the franchise's direction and ability to contend and preferred to be traded to a team that was in a better position to win, sources said.
Seeing Harden leave Houston probably came as a sigh of relief to Golden State Warriors’ players and fans who had seen the guy unleash his unique variety of scoring moves time and time again against the Dubs during the dynasty era. Harden could get 40 points on the Warriors on any given night, attacking Golden State’s defenders with a maddening style that produced some pretty three-pointers and frustrating foul calls.
"My first thought: It's good to get James Harden to the East," Warriors coach Steve Kerr told 95.7 The Game in San Francisco. "A lot of the dominant NBA players have been in the West for whatever reason. And it's good to balance it out."
Harden and Stephen Curry were at one point deadlocked in the debate over the best guard (and maybe player) in the NBA. When the league was scrambling to figure out who would run the Western Conference as the San Antonio Spurs dynasty reached it’s latter days, Curry’s Warriors and Harden’s Rockets were next up in line.
I just assumed these two superstar guards would be going toe-to-toe for years in the NBA postseason. Let’s not forget Harden’s Rockets had the Hamptons-5 era Warriors down 3-2 in the Western Conference Finals!
All this does is make me appreciate just how fortunate Dub Nation is to root for a superstar like Steph, who has committed to this franchise for over a decade and led it’s rise from the trash heap to the mountain top.
And at the same time, let’s be real that Harden himself was already a victim of a team trading him, as he was a casualty of the Oklahoma City Thunder breaking up the Durant-Westbrook-Harden NBA Finals team. Maybe after that Harden realized that the NBA is a business, and he’s gotta do whatever it takes to look out for what’s best in his career. Organizations have a major play in these types of matters for sure.
We know for sure now — the Thunder made a mistake. But the team did not need to look at advanced statistics or Harden’s results in Houston to figure this out. It simply had to look at Harden’s numbers when he did not have to play the third wheel to Durant and Westbrook.
The Thunder had a star sitting right in their lap. When either All-NBA player sat, James Harden had the freedom to put up ridiculous scoring numbers on all-time efficiency. Oklahoma City made a massive mistake and left a warning for future teams — if you are going to trade a player, make sure he is not already playing like an all-time great.
Speaking of orgs, if the Warriors'‘ organization was willing to trade for CHRIS PAUL, surely we have to consider it wouldn’t be out of the question for a Hardenian deal to get considered? Hmmmmm.