Kevin Durant Denies Talking to James Harden About Joining Nets Amid Trade Rumors

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistDecember 1, 2020

Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant, left, defends against Houston Rockets' James Harden during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Ben Margot/Associated Press

The Brooklyn Nets have been rumored to be a potential suitor for James Harden, with ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reporting earlier in November that the Houston Rockets superstar was "singularly focused on a trade" to the Nets. 

On Tuesday, however, Nets superstar Kevin Durant denied he had spoken with Harden about such a trade.

"Anybody can make up a story that gets traction," he told reporters. "I was focused on rehab."

Durant added that he and Harden were friends and that he had "heard the noise" regarding the trade rumors.

A potential superteam of Durant, Harden and Kyrie Irving would be fascinating. On one hand, no team in the NBA could compare from a talent standpoint. They'd instantly be considered title frontrunners. On the other hand, there would be major question marks about how three high-usage players—each accustomed to having the ball in their hands in crunch time—would coexist. 

Sometimes, how stars fit together is more important than the talent itself. Durant, Harden and Irving would be a questionable fit, at best. 

Harden and Durant do have experience playing together in their time with the Oklahoma City Thunder. But that Harden came off the bench and averaged 12.7 points per game across three seasons. This version of Harden is an eight-time All-Star, three-time scoring champion and the 2017-18 MVP. 

The Nets could build an intriguing trade package for Harden that would likely be centered around players like Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie, both good players. Still, there's a strong argument to be made that Brooklyn would be better served holding onto their depth and allowing Durant and Irving, two excellent scorers, to lead the offense. 

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It's important to remember that Durant and Irving haven't even played together yet, with Durant missing the entirety of the 2019-20 season after tearing his Achilles. Or that the team has a first-time head coach in Steve Nash. There is still chemistry to be built in Brooklyn. The Nets are a work in progress. 

As for whether Durant enjoys getting questioned about Harden, he seemed to sum up his feelings fairly succinctly while talking about missing last season.

"Last year wasn't that frustrating to be honest," he told reporters. "I enjoyed having some me time away from all of y'all [the media], to be honest."