With the Brooklyn Nets landing in this year’s play-in tournament, a lot of rumors and reports have been circulating about the struggles that the team has faced this season.
After all, the Nets entered the 2021-22 NBA season as a superteam that seemed poised to win a title. Now, Brooklyn is in a much different position. In a lot of ways, signs of possible trouble were there all along.
After all, superstar James Harden wanted to be traded from the team prior to the deadline back in February, and he got his wish.
Based on a recent report, Harden thought Kevin Durant was “self-righteous” about a subject that has been quite touchy for Harden during his career.
“Sources say that much of the discontent between Harden and the Nets started in September when he arrived into training camp out of shape,” Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN reported. “Durant had been understanding of Harden’s predicament in Houston as a man in need of new scenery, but also tacitly expected his former teammate to commit himself to conditioning and self-care when he came seeking a title in Brooklyn, according to a source close to both stars. With [Kyrie] Irving’s status already in flux due to his unwillingness to get vaccinated, Durant was astonished in the opening weeks of the season at Harden’s lack of explosiveness and sluggish play, something he attributed in large part to Harden’s being out of shape, as he did the ensuing hamstring issues.
“Harden, sources say, found Durant’s slant grating and self-righteous. The two never resolved the conflict, and there was little that teammates, coach Steve Nash or [Sean] Marks could do to mediate it. With each passing week, Harden became more isolated, with staff and teammates increasingly frustrated by the static. The Nets ultimately excised him from the locker room in a blockbuster trade deadline deal with Philadelphia for Ben Simmons.”
Throughout his career, Harden’s fitness, or lack thereof, has been a topic of conversation. He is an unquestionable talent, but he does not always seem to put in the amount of work that his superstar contemporaries do.
Given Durant’s commitment to perfection, it is not all that shocking to learn that he grew tired of Harden’s lax approach.
Now, Durant’s Nets and Harden’s Philadelphia 76ers enter the play-in and playoffs with a lot of question marks. Though both teams arguably have the talent necessary to win a title, both squads have flaws.
If the two teams happen to meet in the playoffs in the coming weeks, there will no doubt be plenty of storylines for fans to consume.