Kevin Durant, James Harden beefed on Nets last season?
Kyrie Irving may not have been the only James Harden hater in Brooklyn last season.
Yaron Weitzman of FOX Sports wrote a lengthy feature this week on the Philadelphia 76ers star Harden. In the piece, Weitzman touched on the dynamic between Harden and Kevin Durant on the Nets in 2021-22.
Weitzman reports that Harden and Durant butted heads multiple times during the season with Durant believing Harden was not in peak physical shape and even telling Harden as much. The report also says that the ex-NBA MVP Harden grew frustrated with Brooklyn’s training staff and its focus on “maintenance, rest, and recovery.”
Harden was always an iron man of sorts with the Houston Rockets, but he became injury-prone over his two partial seasons with the Nets. As a result, Harden’s conditioning also suffered, and he played just 80 total games for Brooklyn before getting traded to the 76ers last February.
We already knew that Harden did not see eye-to-eye with Irving. But it was thought that Harden had a better relationship with Durant, whom he had previously played with on the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Weitzman also interviewed Harden himself in the feature. The 33-year-old did not exactly have positive things to say about his time with the Nets.
“I don’t mean to, like, just down talk to anybody or whatever,” Harden told Weitzman. “It was just, there was no structure. Even superstars, they need structure. That’s what allows us to be the best players and leaders for our respective organizations.
“I just feel like, internally, things weren’t what I expected when I was trying to get traded there,” Harden went on. “I think everybody knows that. I knew people were going to talk and say, ‘You quit’ and all that stuff. But then the following summer, the other superstar there [Durant] wanted to leave. So it’s like, ‘Am I still the quitter?'”
You can read Weitzman’s full feature on Harden here.
There is probably some truth to Harden being out of shape during his tenure in Brooklyn. Even one of the team’s ex-assistants said as much. But Harden has to feel pretty validated now that the Nets continue to be dysfunctional with Durant’s since-rescinded trade request, the firing of head coach Steve Nash, and ongoing drama episodes with Irving, Ben Simmons, and others.