In a game without Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Joe Harris, the Brooklyn Nets dropped to 12-12 at home with a 106-96 loss to the Lakers. Following the contest, James Harden was asked about the recent reports stating that he’s open to exploring opportunities outside of Brooklyn this summer (ie: Philadelphia).
Two nights after scoring 13 points, Harden led the Nets with 33 points (11-of-24), 12 rebounds, and 11 assists. He was Brooklyn’s lone offensive threat, which is displayed in the fact that he scored more than a third of the Nets’ points.
Harden’s used to bearing a heavy workload for Brooklyn. He and Durant navigated the first part of the season without Irving and now that he’s back as a part-time player, the Nets are still left at a disadvantage in games played at Barclays Center.
That issue has only been exemplified by Durant’s sprained MCL that he suffered on Jan. 15. A timetable for his return is expected to be around four-to-six weeks, so until he and Harris make their way back into the rotation, all eyes are going to be on Harden in games played in Brooklyn.
According to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, that could be part of Harden’s downfall with the Nets, although Harden isn’t having it with the recent reports that have surfaced about his frustrations.
James Harden responds to reports about his future with the Brooklyn Nets.
New York Daily News reporter Kristian Winfield asked Harden about Fischer’s reports that outline reasons for the guard’s apparent unhappiness in Brooklyn. Harden interjected and said, “Reports from who?” When he was told Bleacher Report, Harden said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Harden was then asked to talk about his experience living in Brooklyn and he looked confused and said, “What do you mean?”
He then got frustrated when Winfield referred back to the reports. Harden said, “Did you guys hear it from me? I don’t know about no reports.”
Harden was then asked if he’s frustrated with Steve Nash’s rotations, which is another point that Fischer mentioned.
Although the questions that Harden was asked were necessary given the timing and situation, it makes sense that he didn’t want to entertain the rumors.
Fischer wrote that Harden had “recently informed several confidants” of his decision to pursue opportunities with other teams during the offseason.
Based on Harden’s responses, Bleacher Report is off base. However, at the same time, if the reports were true, why would Harden admit it?
Either way, it’s difficult to visualize Harden passing up on a four-year, $227.2 million max extension, as well as the opportunity to continue to play alongside Durant.
Even after the discouraging loss, Nets fans can breathe a sigh of relief (for now at least).