Leading up to the NBA trade deadline, it had become increasingly apparent that James Harden wanted out of Brooklyn. He got his wish. On Thursday, the Nets traded Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and a pair of future first-round picks.
Since the trade, a couple of funny things have happened. One, Kevin Durant and LeBron James had their All-Star draft, and Durant refused to select Harden, who wound up going as the last pick to LeBron, who was covering his face with a clipboard to hide his laughter as Durant made a whole thing about why he so needed Rudy Gobert, the only other player still available, on his squad.
Second, Joe Vardon of The Athletic published an article detailing a downright hilarious scene earlier this season in Cleveland that illustrates just how annoyed Harden had become with Kyrie Irving during their brief time together in Brooklyn.
From Vardon's list of 25 thoughts on the trade deadline:
1. The Nets were in Cleveland Jan. 17. In their locker room before the game, Kyrie Irving lit ablaze some sage — a Native American ritual Irving has embraced to cleanse negative energy. Irving doesn't do this before every game, but he apparently still feels haunted by parts of his past on the Cavs. So he lit his torch.
2. Harden, according to sources who were in the room when it happened, was seated in front of his locker, watching Irving, and looked at Kyrie like he had three heads.
3. "Definitely a weird vibe between them," one source said. "You could tell Harden was annoyed, and Kyrie wasn't feeling James."
I mean, how can you not crack up at this? I can so easily picture Harden looking at Kyrie "like he had three heads." Hilarious. Kyrie is one weird dude, and surely Harden was already annoyed with Irving's unwillingness to get the COVID vaccine, which led to Harden's annoyance at having to shoulder a bigger burden than he'd expected when he came to Brooklyn, a burden that got even heavier after Durant went out almost a month ago with a sprained MCL.
It doesn't sound like Irving was all that fond of Harden, either, particularly after it became known that Harden no longer wanted to be in Brooklyn. Kyrie likes to think he's the only one who can bail on a team. You can understand Harden being bugged by Irving. He's certainly not the first Kyrie teammate to feel that way. But the burning sage and the "three heads" thing is just too much. I'll be legit laughing at that one for a while.