Kyrie Irving won’t be shedding any tears over the departure of James Harden, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. According to a “well-placed source,” Irving was eager to see a Harden trade come to fruition.
Vardon relayed a story where Irving lit some sage in the locker room before a game in Cleveland, which Harden found odd and annoying. Harden was also frustrated that Irving wouldn’t get vaccinated, limiting him to away games. Harden’s ball-dominant, initiate-and–shoot style was also an ill fit next to Irving’s playmaking.
We have more on the Nets-Sixers blockbuster:
- The trade came together in earnest just this morning, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on NBA Today (video link). The Sixers had been calling Brooklyn about a potential deal but the Nets didn’t truly make counteroffers until Thursday. The Nets wanted Matisse Thybulle as part of the package but eventually settled for two first-round picks. “The Nets just felt it was time to cut ties with James Harden,” Wojnarowski said. “They were confident he was planning to leave them at the end of the season.”
- Don’t expect Ben Simmons to suit up for the Nets before the All-Star break, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne speculates on NBA Today (video link). “Physically, this (his return) could happen at anytime but mentally I think he’s going to take a little time here,” she said. “The All-Star break is coming up and I would look for something after that.”
- The trade leaves the Sixers $33.6MM over the salary cap and $9.4MM over the luxury tax threshold, Derek Bodner of the Daily Six newsletter tweets.