The Brooklyn Nets have traded All-Star guard James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers, which brings troubled superstar Ben Simmons to Brooklyn, along with Andre Drummond, Seth Curry, and two first round picks, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The tensions at Barclays Center could only boil for so long, and after weeks of speculation and the Nets’ worst run in their new era, the dam finally broke — ending weeks of speculation about Harden’s happiness on Brooklyn’s ball team.
In the end, Harden clearly wanted out — and although his specific reasons for his desire to exit weren’t clear, the product on the court was suffering as a result.
The Nets have lost their last nine games, along with 16 of their last 22, which represents a serious rough patch that has left them floundering in eighth in the Eastern Conference.
For a team fresh off a heartbreaking Game 7 loss to the Bucks in the conference semifinals, and returning one of the best rosters in the NBA, these kinds of runs are understandably unacceptable to management — especially franchise owner Joe Tsai, who has spent considerable finances to shape the Nets into a playoff contender.
The 76ers, while better off in the standings currently sitting Fifth Place, have had one of the most public holdout sagas in recent NBA memory with Ben Simmons. The Australian-born phenom hasn’t played all year, and has made clear his intentions to be done with his time in Philadelphia — and General Manager Daryl Morey has played a poorly-dealt had well, connecting perennial-MVP Joel Embiid with Harden, who Morey knows especially well from their shared time with the Rockets.
The Nets haul shouldn’t entirely disappoint fans, though, as the 76ers had to pay up for the opportunity to snag Brooklyn’s bearded shooting guard. There is legitimate reason to believe that a team with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons, and a great supporting cast should still be the favorites to win the NBA Finals.
But there is still drama to take care of with Irving, and the task at hand is no easier as the Nets sit in a play-in spot as the trade deadline approaches.