By Terrance Turner
Dec. 23, 2020 (Updated Jan. 13, 2021; Feb. 10, 2022)
NEW: James Harden has been traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and two first-round picks, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. (The 76ers also received veteran forward Paul Millsap in the deal.)
This is the second time in barely a year that Harden has been traded, after forcing his way out of Houston last January. That was reportedly a factor in his not doing the same thing this time: ESPN reports that Harden resisted formally requesting a trade because he feared public backlash.
But he clearly wanted out. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said yesterday that the Nets and 76ers were “in the deal zone” on a potential Harden-Simmons trade. “I suspect they’re gonna get it done,” Windhorst said, before saying that Harden wanted a trade: “I can’t tell you how much he wants this.” Windhorst added: “He is screaming in every way he possibly can, ‘I don’t want to be here; get me out of here’.”
Bleacher Report stated last month that Harden was unhappy living in Brooklyn (citing climate differences and state taxes). Harden was also disgruntled with his team. He told Nets brass and close contacts about his frustration with teammate Kyrie Irving being a part-time player. (Irving remains unvaccinated and cannot play in home games due to a local mandate that all professional athletes playing in New York City’s public venues be vaccinated against COVID-19.) To make matters worse, Kevin Durant has suffered a knee injury (sprained MCL) and has missed time. Harden has missed at least three games with a hamstring injury. The three have only played together 16 times this season. The Nets are 29-25 and have lost nine straight games.
So Harden is on the move again after all of 13 months in Brooklyn, after forcing an exit from Houston. Read more about that saga in my story below.