The biggest reason the Nets likely do not trade James Harden before next Thursday’s deadline?
Kevin Durant doesn’t want them to.
And no organization in the league listens and caters more to their stars’ wishes than the Brooklyn Nets.
Durant wants Harden to stay in Brooklyn, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported on the NBA Countdown show before Saturday night’s Knicks vs. Lakers showcase game. He added that Harden is telling both Durant and the Nets he wants to stay in Brooklyn.
Woj added Durant wants everyone on the Nets to be as committed to a title as he is.
If Harden wants to stay, where are all these rumors and reports coming from?
It could be that Harden doesn’t really want to stay. He would be far from the first player to tell management and teammates one thing and plan for something else.
Or it could be coming from other sources around the league that would benefit from the rumors. Daryl Morey, the 76ers GM, wants to trade for Harden and pair him with Joel Embiid. Financially that is a lot easier for Philadelphia to do at this trade deadline than it is next offseason (a next summer sign-and-trade would trigger a hard cap for the 76ers, forcing Morey to shed salary; if Harden opted into the final year of his contract, then was traded and extended, it would be a sign of tampering to many other teams). The rumors of Harden wanting out could benefit Philly.
Another part of it is the NBA rumor mill is insatiable — trade talk, rumors of trades, and speculation about free agency drive far more traffic to websites (including this one) and on social media than does a discussion of games and strategy — which spawns more talk of trades and more speculation. Unreliable rumors gain traction because they draw eyeballs.
There’s a lot of smoke around the idea Harden may want out Brooklyn, enough that there must be at least a little fire. But there is no reason for the Nets to rush, this is still a team that could get healthy, find a groove and win a title with this roster. They have the talent when everyone can play.
There’s especially no reason for the Nets to rush if Durant wants Harden to stay.