That last clip.....yikes. Does this look like someone who is thrilled with how things are going in Brooklyn right now? Not to me it doesn't. It looks like a franchise player that knows his window to win a title is becoming smaller by the year and seems pretty fucking annoyed that this is all going on. We hear from Kyrie about how he doesn't want to become a distraction, but that's exactly what this is. A distraction. James Harden has to answer questions about it. So does KD. So does Steve Nash. This is literally the very definition of a distraction.
I'll remind you, only KD has signed his extension with the Nets. Both Kyrie and Harden have player options after this season, and I think it's fair to wonder what happens with both. I can't imagine the Nets are about to offer Kyrie a max extension after all this, but what does that mean for James Harden? If he truly is growing sick of what Kyrie is doing, does he remain a Net moving forward? If he turns down his player option and hits the market, he'll have his pick of where to go. It might be a little early for that type of speculation, but you can't ignore it. Again, watch that final clip. That was more telling than anything he said in his presser. For all we know Harden is the reason there's no extension yet because maybe he wants to see how this all plays out, both with Kyrie and the Nets s a whole. If this team fails to make the Finals again, Harden will be entering his age 33 season next year. It's not like he has a ton of time left, and his motivation is probably a little different than KD/Kyrie considering they already have their rings. This was probably where Harden felt he had the best chance to get his own, and after losing Year 1 to injury I'm not so sure this is the best way to start Year 2.
Now to be fair, there's still 6 days before the start of the season. Maybe Kyrie comes around and gets vaccinated and this will all be for nothing. But from what we're hearing from Shams, it sure doesn't feel like that change of heart is around the corner. I'd say other than maybe the Lakers, no team in the NBA has more pressure to win this season than the Nets. Stuff like this is how chemistry issues arise, and that shit can kill a season. We see it all the time in this league, so why should the Nets be any different?
Without Kyrie the Nets are still title contenders, let's not get carried away. They just become a little easier to defend. But this Kyrie issue could absolutely impact this franchise past this one season, which deep down I think every Nets fan is afraid of.