The Brooklyn Nets entered the never-ending list of overstacked teams that fail to win an NBA championship. Despite having Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden; it's clear that talent isn't everything.
It takes a lot to win a ring, starting with chemistry. And when big egos get on the way, it's not unusual to see stars look to part ways, even if they used to be friends. That seemed to be the case in Brooklyn.
According to a recent report, Kevin Durant was the one who approved Harden's trade to the Philadelphia 76ers. Apparently, the two-time NBA champion was worried about his teammate's freelancing attitude.
NBA Rumors: Kevin Durant Grew Sick And Tired Of James Harden's Attitude
(Transcript via Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report)
"'KD didn't want to get rid of James,' one person familiar with the two superstars said. 'But he knew it was over.'
'Kevin was like: 'F--k it. James isn't bringing s--t,' another figure with knowledge of Brooklyn added. 'I don't think that would have happened without Kevin making that decision.'
For weeks he had grown weary of Harden's purported commitment to the franchise. When Harden first took to the bench with right hamstring tightness, Durant was among the Brooklyn figures who were skeptical of the injury's severity."
Durant Told the Nets To Trade Harden
Even though he was originally against swapping Harden for Simmons, Durant felt like his teammate put him against the wall. Eventually, Durant reached out to Nets' GM Sean Marks and told him to pull the trigger:
"'Kevin's the one that pulled the trigger with this,' another source with knowledge of the situation said. 'Kevin's the one that said, 'Do this deal.' There was growing concern that this entire season would be lost and then they'd lose James for nothing,'" Fischer reported.
KD And Harden Had A 'Cold War'
The Nets' feud had gone on for quite some time. Durant and Harden hadn't been close since the offseason and the tension between both stars was taking a toll in the locker room and the rest of the team:
"The previous offseason, Los Angeles pickup runs with Durant and Irving planted the idea in Harden's mind to flee the Houston Rockets. This summer, Harden and Durant never entered the same gym, and Durant was disappointed by the poor conditioning Harden sported during those early Nets practices. Harden was also increasingly candid about wanting to test free agency for the first time," Fischer reported.
"It wasn't a concern at first. But Harden joined Brooklyn to be part of a Big Three. With Irving inactive, and a greater workload heaped onto Harden and Durant, a strain formed between the Nets' two active alphas," the report added.
"'Kevin and James had a cold war going for the last several months that made everyone miserable,' one person with knowledge of the situation said," Fischer concluded.
Now, the Nets have a player who should be motivated to prove his doubters wrong in Ben Simmons, and the Sixers got the other star they wanted. Hopefully, it'll work out for both parties.