Brooklyn Nets Trade James Harden To 76ers

James Harden is headed to Philadelphia./Getty Images

By Owen Russell

 

    On Thursday, Feb. 10, the Brooklyn Nets traded All-Star guard James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers after playing just 80 games for the team. Along with Harden, the Nets are sending veteran forward Paul Millsap to Philadelphia. In return, Brooklyn received All-Star forward/guard Ben Simmons, guard Seth Curry, center Andre Drummond, and two unprotected first-round draft picks. The trade comes after months of speculation that Harden wanted out of Brooklyn. 

    Initially traded to Brooklyn last year to escape a rapidly deteriorating Houston Rockets team, Harden was likely allured by the prospect of reuniting with Kevin Durant and playing with Kyrie Irving. However, things never got rolling for Brooklyn’s big three. Due to injuries, along with Irving’s refusal to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, Brooklyn’s terrifying trifecta only played 16 games together. Like many Brooklyn fans, Harden may have been disillusioned by reality after buying into the Nets’ idea of a superteam.

   Now in Philadelphia, Harden reunites with former Rockets and current 76ers’ General Manager, Daryl Morey. 

   Morey has been extremely outspoken about bringing Harden to Philadelphia, so much so that some teams suspect it could be tampering. Whether or not Harden was lured to the 76ers by unsavory means, he jumps from the eighth seed to the fifth seed with the move. Set up in a better playoff position, Harden also joins powerhouse center Joel Embiid, a duo who could certainly shake up the Eastern Conference.

   For the Nets, however, questions still remain. With Harden gone, the Nets must find a scoring option to rely on while Durant is hurt and Irving can only play road games. Along with the already existing struggles, the Brooklyn Nets bring on board a wildcard in Ben Simmons. Since last year’s playoffs, Simmons has refused to play for the 76ers. Having missed more than half a season, how will Simmons fit into Brooklyn’s game plan? On top of that, will Simmons cause the same distractions he caused in Philadelphia? 

   While many are concerned about Simmons and his mental state, Brooklyn point guard Patrick Mills spoke out in support of his new teammate. “I’ve got his back. I’ve always had his back,” Mills said at a recent press conference. Simmons and Mills were both born in Australia and have spent time playing for the country in international competition. 

   With less than half a season left, and a looming All-Star break, the Nets will have to address multiple questions if they hope to compete for a spot in the NBA Finals. Meanwhile, James Harden will also look to secure his first ever NBA Championship with a fearsome new partner in Joel Embiid. 

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