The Brooklyn Nets might see one of their stars depart this summer. According to a report from Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, James Harden is willing to explore other options as a free agent this summer and could leave the franchise. There’s always the possibility Harden does come back to the Nets, who can offer him the biggest contract as the incumbent team.
James Harden has not enjoyed living in Brooklyn and has voiced his frustrations regarding Kyrie Irving's part-time playing status, per B/R's @JakeLFischer— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 25, 2022
Harden has made it clear he intends to test out free agency even if it leads him back to the Nets pic.twitter.com/7bhI9QnGkO
As reported above, the lifestyle and Irving’s part-time status have not sat well with Harden. The shooting guard saw his production decline earlier in the season as a result of him not getting to the free-throw line more often with NBA rule changes. Harden did turn things around eventually and even had a red-hot stretch after a brief stint in the league’s health and safety protocols.
It’s hard to see a better situation for Harden than Brooklyn, assuming Kevin Durant and Irving remain with the team. The Nets are committed to contending, willing to spend money and draft assets to build the best team possible. Per DraftKings Sportsbook, Brooklyn is the favorite to win the 2021-22 title at +245.
If the Nets cannot get a commitment from Harden, they may look to trade him at this year’s deadline. There have been rumors about a potential Harden for Ben Simmons swap, with 76ers GM Daryl Morey clearly liking Harden as a franchise player. Harden and Joel Embiid would be a superstar tandem, and the shooting guard wouldn’t have to deal with the part-time players in Philadelphia.