Report: James Harden, Kevin Durant 'Butted Heads' over Harden's Conditioning on Nets

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVDecember 16, 2022

BROOKLYN, NY - JANUARY 1: James Harden #13 and Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets look on during the game against the LA Clippers on January 1, 2022 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

James Harden's time with the Brooklyn Nets didn't last long, and one issue was his friction with Kevin Durant during the 2021-22 campaign.

"Harden and Durant, according to multiple Nets sources, butted heads during the season," Yaron Weitzman of Fox Sports reported. "Durant didn't think Harden was in peak physical shape, and told him as much."

Harden came to Brooklyn in January 2021, creating an exciting lineup of superstars alongside Durant and Kyrie Irving. In February 2022, Harden was shipped to the Philadelphia 76ers in a deal that brought back Ben Simmons.

Despite high expectations for the trio in Brooklyn, the team failed to reach their potential, reaching just the second round of the playoffs in 2021. The Nets finished as the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference last year after trading away Harden, eventually losing in the first round.

"The whole two years was a low point. I've never really had to deal with something like that," Harden said of his time in Brooklyn. "My body, mentally, physically … It was a lot going on. I mean, basketball is everything to me."

In addition to reported conflicts with Durant, Harden also had issues with the Nets training staff.

A hamstring injury kept the guard off the court during his final weeks with the team before being traded to Philadelphia.

Hamstring issues also cost Harden over a month in 2020-21 regular season. He later missed three playoff games as the Nets lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in seven games.

Despite his miserable time in Brooklyn, Harden remains close with Durant. The former teammates spent time together at Harden's 33rd birthday on a yacht.

"Me and him are cool," Harden said of Durant. "We went on a couple summer trips together."