Now we're cooking with gas! Love a good old-fashioned #SourceOff this time of year. Different sides pushing different narratives and agendas, a real he said he said situation. That's basically exactly what we have. First came Jake Fischer's report from B/R who also happens to be from Philly where he dropped this nugget
Harden remains invested in competing for the title in Brooklyn this season, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation. But Harden has recently informed several confidants—including former teammates and coaches—of his interest in exploring other opportunities outside of Brooklyn this summer, league sources told B/R.
That's what kicked us off. Then you had Perk (Klutch connections) go on to say this
Now, everyone knows the Nets couldn't have this be the only narrative out there. Posturing 101. They needed their own "bomb" dropped so to speak. So where do they go? You guessed it, Woj! You saw the clip at the top of this blog
The Brooklyn Nets won't listen to trade-deadline overtures for All-NBA guard James Harden, a resolve rooted in Harden's repeated insistences to ownership and management that he is committed to staying and winning a championship with the franchise, sources told ESPN.
Nets owner Joe Tsai and general manager Sean Marks are buoyed not only by Harden's consistent internal stance but the shared public and private belief among superstars Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving that the three make the Nets an unstoppable team when playing together.
Here's the thing. That's not all that different from what Fischer said. He reported that Harden was committed this year, and all the Nets said was they wouldn't trade him at the deadline. Uhhhh yeah no shit. Why would you? I will say the part that is slightly different with Woj report is this line
"a resolve rooted in Harden's repeated insistences to ownership and management that he is committed to staying"
This I'm sure was music to Nets fans' ears. There's only one small little issue with that
That's not great! OK, the situations are clearly different so you have to factor that in, but something's clearly up. When Harden was asked about it, I found his answer interesting
You know what he didn't say?
"I love being a Brooklyn Net. I'm not looking to go anywhere."
Instead, he got a little defensive about it. This reminded me of another time a player with a player option was asked a similar question when the rumors were initially flying about him and Durant teaming up together after they clearly got caught at All Star Weekend
We all know what happened next.
This is the type of drama that we all crave this time of year. I can't get enough of it. Knowing that things are only going to heat up as we get closer to the deadline has me so excited. I'm going to need Shams to weigh in on this situation now. He's plugged in with Klutch, there's no way we've heard the last of this story.
The I start thinking outside the box and think about other possibilities that this narrative with Harden exists if in fact Woj is telling the truth and Harden isn't going anywhere. Is it possible Morey told Klutch that he'll trade Ben, but in the meantime, their connections will talk about Harden/Simmons in an effort to raise his trade value? That seems plausible. Think about it, if they make it seem like the market for Simmons is actually Harden, then teams are going to have to up their offer. Or at the very least take back Tobias Harris which nobody on earth wants to do. It's not a bad play if that's what this is in a sense that it could only potentially help.
On the Nets side, if they truly knew that Harden was 100% leaving this summer, wouldn't they want to get ahead of that and get an asset back that was maybe better than Ben Simmons? That's where their part in this whole thing has me stumped. They don't need to trade Harden to the Sixers to prevent the possibility of getting nothing if he walks this summer. They can trade him anywhere at this deadline! So is their reluctance because they know that Philly shit is nonsense, or are they hoping that potentially winning a title would convince Harden to stay because right now he has one foot out the door? It's all on that table!
All I know is I just need more "sources" and more reports. I don't care where they come from, just give them to us.