James Harden returned to Brooklyn on Saturday to triumph 101-98 over the Nets and has unloaded about his past situation there.
“Yeah, there was a lot of things. But it was just a lot of dysfunction. Clearly. But it was a lot of internal things that I’m not going to ever put in the media. And that was one of the reasons why I chose to make my decision,” Harden said after the win.
“But now, fast forward to date, I don’t look like the crazy one. I don’t look like the quitter. … I knew what was going on and I just decided to [say] ‘Hey, I’m not built for this. I don’t want to deal with that. I want to play basketball, have fun, and enjoy doing it.’ And fast forward to today, they’ve got a whole new roster.”
Although he didn’t mention it, many sources around the league say there was beef between Harden, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, with the rift between KD and Harden dating back to training camp.
ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz reported Durant could’t believe his teammate’s lack of fitness coming into camp.
“Sources say that much of the discontent between Harden and the Nets started in September when he arrived into training camp out of shape,” Arnovitz said. “Durant was astonished in the opening weeks of the season at Harden’s lack of explosiveness and sluggish play, something he attributed in large part to Harden’s being out of shape.
“Harden, sources say, found Durant’s slant grating and self-righteous. The two never resolved the conflict, and there was little that teammates, coach Steve Nash or Marks could do to mediate it.”
As for Irving, his unwillingness to get vaccinated apparently frustrated Harden and other behaviors he found to be strange did too, including when he lit sage in the locker room in Cleveland to cleanse negative energy.
“Irving doesn’t do this before every game, but he apparently still feels haunted by parts of his past on the Cavs. So he lit his torch,” The Athletic reported.
“Harden, according to sources who were in the room when it happened, was seated in front of his locker, watching Irving, and looked at Kyrie like he had three heads.”