Saturday, June 22, 2024

Nets’ Kevin Durant on James Harden for Ben Simmons swap: ‘I think everybody got what they wanted’

It appears as though Brooklyn Nets star forward Kevin Durant isn’t interested in dwelling on the fact that the Nets traded James Harden to Philadelphia just over a year after acquiring him from the Houston Rockets. In a deal that was agreed upon just hours before the NBA‘s trade deadline on Thursday, the Nets decided to ship Harden to the 76ers for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two future first-round picks. 

The deal sent shockwaves through the NBA, and could ultimately work to shift the balance of power in the Eastern Conference. Given the fact that Durant completely avoided selecting his now twice former teammate in the All-Star draft on Thursday night, it’s fair to surmise that Durant may harbor a little bit of ill will towards Harden for basically bailing on Brooklyn. If that is how he feels, though, he’s keeping it internal, as he remained diplomatic when asked about the deal on TNT’s Inside the NBA. 

“I’m excited for our team,” Durant said. “Looking forward to finishing the season out with this new group and these new players. Playoffs are right around the corner so we got to fast-track it to get used to each other, but I’m excited. I think everybody got what they wanted.” 

You can see Durant’s comments below: 

In a way, Durant is right. Both Harden and Simmons got what they wanted, as Harden reportedly wanted out of Brooklyn, and Simmons certainly wanted out of Philadelphia. But did Durant? It’s hard to imagine that he’s thrilled about losing a running mate as skilled as Harden, even though the Nets did get a solid return for the former MVP. Durant’s ultimate goal is to win a championship in Brooklyn, and it’s frankly too early to tell if the team took a positive step in that direction with the move that was made. 

Given the cloud that has been hanging over the Nets in recent weeks due to Harden’s reported unhappiness, perhaps moving on and having some certainty regarding the roster will be a good thing for Brooklyn. At least that’s the approach that Nets coach Steve Nash is taking. 

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“I think it’s positive for everyone to have the deadline pass,” Nash said prior to Brooklyn’s game against the Washington Wizards. “And so there’s no more stuff hanging over everyone’s head or everyone wondering what’s going to happen. I think there’s kind of a finality to it that helps everyone move forward.”  

Given the enormous expectations that materialized as soon as Harden landed in Brooklyn, his (brief) tenure with the team is going to be remembered as an unsuccessful one. Now that it’s over, both sides can move on and try to find more success than they had together. 

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