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#pounditTuesday, May 17, 2022

Reported reason James Harden is open to leaving Nets revealed

James Harden on the court

There has been a lot of talk recently about James Harden leaving the Brooklyn Nets either via trade or in free agency this summer, and we may now have a better idea of where that talk stems from.

Harden has not requested a trade, but it was noteworthy that he turned down a three-year, $161 million extension from the Nets back in October. He now has the ability to hit free agency this summer, as he has a $47 million player option for the 2022-23 season. According to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, Harden may be thinking about life outside of Brooklyn in part because he is not enjoying the city itself.

Sources told Fischer that Harden has not enjoyed living in New York nearly as much as he did Houston. Part of that could be the climate, but he is also paying nearly 9% in state income taxes while living in The Big Apple compared to zero in Texas.

There have been some basketball issues, too. Harden has reportedly been frustrated with head coach Steve Nash’s rotations and hot-hand approach with lineups in games. He is said to have told people close to him that he will explore opportunities outside Brooklyn this summer, though he is invested in the current team and helping them contend for an NBA title.

Harden has also expressed frustration in Kyrie Irving only being a part-time player, according to Fischer.

Harden should have plenty of suitors this summer if he wants to test free agency. There have also been rumblings that he could be part of a sign-and-trade deal involving another star player, though that still seems farfetched.

The Nets entered Tuesday in third place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 29-17. Harden is averaging 22.7 points, 10.1 assists and 8.0 rebounds per game. It seems highly unlikely that Brooklyn will make a major move at the trade deadline, but their lineup could potentially look a lot different next season.

Photo: Feb 16, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden (13) reacts against the Phoenix Suns at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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