There are rumors floating about that Brooklyn Nets star guard James Harden is not happy and would welcome the chance to test free agency once the summer comes calling.
Harden, 32, is in his first full season as a member of the Nets after being acquired from the Houston Rockets early during the 2020-21 campaign. The former NBA MVP has a player option of $47.37 million for next season and will likely opt out.
We’re now hearing more about the Harden situation in Brooklyn courtesy of ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The report pretty much runs contrary to rumors from earlier in the week.
“James Harden has repeatedly told management, ownership, those in the organization that he is committed to being a Net…that he wants to win a championship there,” Wojnarowski reported Wednesday.
This isn’t to say Harden has guaranteed he’ll re-sign with the Nets once free agency opens. There’s a distinction that has to be made between saying you’re committed and actually signing on the dotted line.
How will the James Harden situation play out?
“According to multiple sources, Harden has not enjoyed living in Brooklyn, compared to his days as a central Houston magnate. Outside of the change in climate, the chasm between state taxes in New York versus Texas is quite obvious as well,” Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported on Tuesday.
This is interesting in that Harden’s preference was to head to the Nets when he demanded a trade from Houston early last season. What could have possibly changed between then and now?
Struggles, injuries and drama. Those are three things to look at here.
With Kevin Durant currently sidelined to a sprained MCL in his knee, the Nets don’t look anything like a championship contender. They are 5-6 in th 11 games KD has missed this season, including an ugly home loss to the pedestrian Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.
As for Harden, his numbers are down this season.
James Harden stats: 22.7 ppg, 10.1 apg, 8 rpg, 1.3 spg, 4.9 Win Shares
To put this into perspective, Harden averaged 34.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and 7.5 assists in his final season with the Rockets back in 2019-20.
The aforementioned report from Fischer also notes that Harden is unhappy with Kyrie Irving’s vaccination status and the fact that he’s a part-time player (unable to play home games).
Either way, this is certainly something to watch as the season progresses and free agency approaches.