Woj: Nets Won't Engage in James Harden Trade Talks with Teams Ahead of Deadline

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 27, 2022

Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden (13) during NBA action Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday Jan. 25, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

The Brooklyn Nets aren't looking to move James Harden prior to the NBA's Feb. 10 trade deadline, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Wojnarowski reported Wednesday the Nets "are not going to engage any team who calls them on trade talks on James Harden."

Brooklyn's reticence to entertain any offers is due in part because Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have all said privately "they believe they're unstoppable" when they share the court together, per Wojnarowski. There isn't a pressing need to make a big change.

Harden is having a slightly down year relative to his usual standards. He's averaging 23.0 points, 10.1 assists and 8.0 rebounds, but his field-goal percentage (42.0) is on pace to be the second-lowest of his career.

The 32-year-old nonetheless is one of the greatest scorers of his generation, so the Nets would have no shortage of suitors if they actually made him available.

At least by mid-February, it's difficult to envision how Harden would wind up playing elsewhere.

Brooklyn is 29-18 and only one game behind the first-place Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference. And that record is despite the little time Harden, Durant and Irving have spent together. According to NBA.com, they played 32 minutes over two games, and the Nets had a 21.4 net rating during that brief spell.

The team's present situation is exactly why general manager Sean Marks can't part with Harden right now.

Irving is still a part-time player because of his COVID-19 vaccination status, while Durant is nursing a sprained MCL. That leaves only Harden to do the heavy lifting on some nights, and there aren't many other players in the Association who can pull off the kind of one-man show he's still capable of.

Unless the Nets can somehow swing a deal for another superstar, there's no reason to jettison the nine-time All-Star when they plausibly remain a title contender with everyone healthy.

This offseason might be another story.

Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer reported Tuesday that Harden "has recently informed several confidants—including former teammates and coaches—of his interest in exploring other opportunities outside of Brooklyn this summer."

The clock may be ticking on the Nets' Big Three as we know it, but that's a problem the front office probably won't have to address until the end of the season.