One of the biggest reasons James Harden initially forced a trade to the Brooklyn Nets was Kevin Durant, who pushed hard for the franchise to acquire the NBA star. However, now that Harden has been traded to the Philadelphia 76ers for Ben Simmons, it’s Durant’s opinion of his former teammate soured pretty quickly, per a new report.
ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz wrote about the “lessons from the Brooklyn Nets’ controversy-filled season” on Tuesday and included some interesting anecdotes about the “discontent” between the team’s two stars when the season started. According to Aronvitz, Durant was stymied by just how out of shape Harden was.
“Durant was astonished in the opening weeks of the season at Harden’s lack of explosiveness and sluggish play, something he attributed in large part to Harden’s being out of shape, as he did the ensuing hamstring issues,” wrote Arnovitz.
Given that Durant is considered one of the hardest workers in the NBA, it makes a lot of sense why he’d see Harden’s condition as an issue. Especially when you consider the hype that the Nets had coming into the season and the pressure Durant may be feeling to win a title outside of Golden State.
There’s also the fact that, if Durant wanted Harden to stay in Brooklyn, he probably could have worked to make it happen. Instead, there were reports that a “cold war” was brewing between the two superstars and it was inevitable that a break-up was coming sooner than later.
“With each passing week, Harden became more isolated, with staff and teammates increasingly frustrated by the static,” Arnovitz noted.
Durant has a strong reputation for being persnickety with rumors and reports like this, so we’ll see how he responds. At least we can feel confident that these reports are more likely to be true than whatever Ballsack Sports is saying about the Nets.