The Nets have no intention of dealing former MVP James Harden by the trade deadline, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. While this news isn’t surprising given Brooklyn’s championship aspirations, it’s noteworthy due to a recent report which stated that Harden was interested in testing the waters as a free agent this summer.
However, Harden has consistently informed upper management and ownership that he’s committed to staying and winning a championship with the Nets, allaying concerns that he might ask out in free agency, per Wojnarowski.
Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving still believe the Nets are the best team in the league when the trio are healthy and in the lineup together — a relative rarity during their tenure. Durant is currently sidelined with a sprained MCL, while Irving is still unable to play home games due to New York City’s vaccine mandate. Irving’s part-time status has reportedly frustrated Harden.
The Sixers have been linked to Harden ever since Daryl Morey took over as president of basketball operations prior to last season. They were in the running to acquire Harden a year ago, but the Rockets ultimately accepted the Nets’ package that offered more draft picks. The Sixers haven’t made any trade offers to the Nets for Harden, and the Nets aren’t interested in listening to offers for their star guard ahead of the trade deadline on February 10, sources tell Wojnarowski.
The Nets will be able to offer Harden more years and more money than any other team in free agency. He’s among a handful of star free-agents-to-be – along with Zach LaVine and Bradley Beal – who can maximize their future earnings by forgoing an early extension and waiting until the offseason to sign a new deal.
Harden missed Wednesday’s game against Denver with left hamstring tightness, Nick Friedell of ESPN relays. Coach Steve Nash said it’s difficult to manage Harden’s minutes (37.0 per game) at times, especially with Durant out and Irving only able to play road games.
“It is a challenge,” Nash said. “We would like to protect him more. But he’s a competitor and wants to be out there so we try to have our little tug of war and I think that’s why at times we’d like to ask him to miss games so that he can regenerate and be a little bit safer as far as being ready to go when the playoffs begin.”