Indiana Pacers v New Jersey Nets

Devin Harris offended LeBron singled Nets out in contraction talk


Let’s be clear, LeBron James was not talking about contraction. He just mentioned “shrinking the (league)” which is so totally different than contraction. It’s just the media twisting his words.

Whatever James was talking about, he mentioned the New Jersey Nets and wondered how Devin Harris would look on another roster.

Harris told the Star-Ledger he was kind of offended by being singled out by James.

“For him to talk about us specifically was a little offensive,’’ Harris said after practice, and before the Nets left for Oklahoma City for tonight’s game against the Thunder. “I mean, from a business standpoint … what’s best, we’re still trying to figure this out. But (James is) in the mind-set of, ‘Let’s just team everybody up with stars and kind of duke it out,’ which, it kind of was like that in previous ages, but who’s to say what’s best for the league.’’

Just for the record, it really wasn’t like that in previous ages.

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.