Nash says no, but Harden may go
Conflicting trade deadline reports surround Nets' superstar
Will he stay or will he go?
That’s the question Brooklyn basketball fanatics have to be asking themselves as Thursday afternoon’s trade deadline approaches.
Nets superstar James Harden, allegedly disgruntled with the team’s ongoing nine-game losing streak and Kyrie Irving’s non-vaccination status, could be on the move out of our borough just over a year after his arrival.
An ESPN report Wednesday indicated that Harden, a former league MVP and three-time scoring champion, might be on his way to Philadelphia if the Nets and 76ers can orchestrate a deadline deal that would bring enigmatic guard Ben Simmons to Brooklyn.
But Nets head coach Steve Nash noted before the Nets’ embarrassing blowout loss to the Celtics here Tuesday that neither Harden nor any of his other players would be on the move come Thursday.
“Honestly, I think we’ll be exactly the same. I think the chances of trades or deals happening before the deadline are so slim, especially for our group,” said Nash.
“So my mind and attention is on this group and putting this thing together as guys become healthy again and trying to build it for the stretch run.”
Harden has already been ruled out of Thursday night’s clash with the Wizards in Washington, D.C., due to tightness in his left hamstring.
It will be the fourth consecutive game Harden has missed because of the nagging injury, if he’s still a Net at tip-off.
With Kevin Durant out with a knee sprain and Irving unavailable to play games in New York City due to COVID-19 protocols at Downtown’s Barclays Center, Harden had been carrying the load for Brooklyn.
But the Nets have clearly been worse in his absence, seeing their longest losing streak since 2017 drop them back into the eighth spot in the standings just three weeks after they held the best record in the Eastern Conference.
The Nets have lost 10 of 12 without Durant and Irving will only be eligible for three of Brooklyn’s next 10 games, including Thursday night in our nation’s capital.
Harden has remained mum on the issue thus far, but he is pivotal to the Nets’ chances of grabbing their first NBA title ever and Brooklyn’s first major pro sports championship since the Dodgers beat the Yankees in the 1955 World Series.
After winning Eastern Conference Player of the Month twice upon his arrival here early last year, Harden was limited by the same nagging hamstring during the final month of the campaign and throughout Brooklyn’s postseason run, which ended with a heartbreaking Game 7 loss here vs. Milwaukee.
Now, “The Beard” may have to chase his first title elsewhere.
Unless, of course, the Nets find a way to convince him that Brooklyn is still his best option in that pursuit.
In other local sports news, the Brooklyn College women’s basketball team isn’t having any trouble winning this year.
The Bulldogs (16-3, 10-0 CUNYAC) wrapped up their league’s regular-season crown and the top spot in the upcoming conference tournament with Wednesday night’s 72-55 blowout of visiting Hunter at the West Quad Center.
Gianna Gotti and Ericka James scored 19 points apiece and Chanel Jermott added 13 for BC, which will travel to CCNY Friday in pursuit of their 11th consecutive league win.
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