James Harden may have been the smartest person in the room all along.
Almost a year before the Nets traded Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks and Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns, Harden forced a trade out of Brooklyn to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Now that both Durant and Irving are gone, Harden has been vindicated. His decision to leave early showed foresight. He saw the smoke and got out of the house before it burned down.
“There was a lot of things. A lot of dysfunction, clearly. There was a lot of internal things,” he told reporters after the Sixers beat the Nets on Saturday. “I’m not gonna just put it in the media or anything, and that was one of the reasons why I chose to make my decision. Now, fast forward to today, I don’t look like the crazy one. I don’t look like the quitter or whatever the media wanna call me.
“I knew what was going on and I just decided I’m not built for this. I don’t wanna deal with that. I wanna play basketball and have fun and enjoy doing it. Fast forward to today, they got a whole new roster.”
Harden requested a trade in the middle of drama brought on by Irving, whose decision not to get vaccinated against COVID-19 left Harden with an increased workload given Durant’s absence due to injury.
Harden chose not to answer whether or not Irving’s decision not to get vaccinated was the primary reason he left Brooklyn.
“That’s not something I’m gonna answer, but the reason I made that decision to get out of my comfort zone which was to leave Hou