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James Harden’s reported treatment of Kevin Durant should be a concerning red flag for Joel Embiid

Last year, it looked like the new super team Brooklyn Nets had a shot at dominating the NBA for seasons to come.

But James Harden assured that this would not happen.

After playing 89 total games (regular season and playoffs) with the Nets over two seasons, Harden essentially forced his way out of Brooklyn and was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers.

The move, however, meant The Beard went back on his word. He broke his promise to Kevin Durant.

James Harden had a failed stint with Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets

There seem to be many reasons for James Harden’s departure from the Nets. He had to carry the load at times this season when Kevin Durant was injured. Kyrie Irving’s refusal to get a COVID-19 shot also likely made things frustrating, given that Irving missed the first two months of the year and then only played part of the time. when he finally came back.

However, regardless of who was responsible for Harden’s decision to leave, one word can sum up his time with the Nets: failure.

Brooklyn acquired the three-time scoring champion from the Houston Rockets last season to compete for titles, but the Big Three didn’t even come close to winning a championship together.

They only appeared in the playoffs with each other, and injuries to Harden and Irving caused them to lose in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Beard’s dissatisfaction then prevented them from being able to revive it this year.

He eventually went to the Philadelphia 76ers via trade while Ben Simmons went to the Nets. The move came just 13 months after he left the Houston Rockets so he could team up with Durant and Irving in Brooklyn.

James allegedly told KD he planned to re-sign with the Nets

Kevin Durant (left to right) and James Harden of the Brooklyn Nets during a game against the New Orleans Pelicans on November 12, 2021. | Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The Nets wanted to win titles with the Big Three, but James Harden’s unknown future was still a dark cloud hanging over them.

Harden’s contract has a player option for the 2022-23 season. He can therefore retire and become an unrestricted free agent this summer if he wishes. He would have had the same luck if he had stayed with the Nets.

So the Brooklyn title window basically had an expiration date.

But Harden reportedly told Durant that he planned to sign an extension with the team.

“Durant’s relationship with Harden has begun to blossom again,” The ring‘s Logan Murdock wrote about Harden’s Nets tenure. “They went on a trip to Greece last summer, and the guard twice reassured Durant that he would sign an extension to stay in Brooklyn long-term, according to league sources.”

Harden never signed that extension. Instead, he made his way to the 76ers.

Joel Embiid should be worried about James Harden’s dedication to 76ers

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Winning a championship is not easy. James Harden learned it with the Rockets. He failed to win a title in his nine seasons in Houston.

That’s why no one could blame him for leaving. He gave his all for almost a decade.

But where has that dedication gone since?

Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have teamed up to win rings together. KD and Irving probably thought Harden was in it for the long haul. As soon as things got tough, however, he wanted out.

So what will Harden do if he and Joel Embiid don’t win a championship?

Embiid has already dealt with a star teammate who was not all-in in Ben Simmons. If he can’t figure things out with Harden this season, he may have to deal with it again.

Let’s not forget that player option either. Harden said he planned to sign up (which would probably be the best financially), but the guard allegedly told Durant he intended to sign an extension in Brooklyn and didn’t. What is the value of his word at this point?

Overall, James Harden and Joel Embiid have as good a chance as anyone of winning this year’s NBA championship. If they don’t, however, Embiid should be worried about Harden’s future in Philadelphia.

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