CHARLOTTE N.C. Brooklyn NetsExpect to meet your former teammate James HardenWhen they are confronted with the Philadelphia 76ersThey do this on Thursday with some regrets about how he tried to push his way out of the team right before the trade deadline last month.
Stars Kyrie Irving Kevin DurantBoth parties addressed it following Tuesday's 132-121 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.
Irving stated, “I thought that we were in a good rhythm. But everyone has their own visions for the beginning of seasons.” Everyone has their own visions of their careers beginning and ending. If James wants that, I respect that decision. I wish him peace and love. Although we have a great relationship, it didn't work out. I wish we could have communicated things better as men. However, it's not like there were any hard feelings between me and anyone else.
Irving stated that he felt Harden owed an explanation to some people in the organization about how he felt, and that it could be communicated better at the end. He has stated repeatedly that he does not have any hard feelings for Harden.
Irving stated that “We're still playing in the same league.” It's not as if we're going see him someplace else, where he's not going back to see us again, or in the summertime. It's great that the league is building up these things, but we have a group of locker room members who just want to be mature about going to Philly, handling business, and then moving on.”
Harden is still not able to fully explain why he left Brooklyn. However, he did make it clear at his first news conference with Philly last October that Irving's decision to stay unvaccinated and therefore not be allowed to play in Nets games had an impact upon him and the team.
Durant, for his part, said that he doesn't know if there was anything that could have been done or said differently to convince Harden to stay with them long-term.
Durant stated, “I don’t know.” When you see it from Durant's perspective, Ky isn't playing, then I'm hurt, so he's trying to look at himself. He's 32 years old.
“So, when you view it from his perspective you can say that it is what is. When someone thinks like this, you can't control their feelings. We hope he stays healthy, their team stays healthy, they have great years, and we can just move on.”
Steve Nash, the Nets coach, said that he didn’t anticipate meeting Harden before Thursday’s game because he rarely has the chance to speak to opposing players.
Nash stated, “It will feel a different feeling playing against him soon after he trade.” “But it'll be an exciting night for all to play and I know the energy will be high. It will be competitive.
Durant stated that he has never thought of the added emotion Thursday would bring to the game.
“When I was younger, 22-23, you saw a man that had just been traded and your emotions [are]He stated that everyone was welcome. “You don’t know how you’re going to approach this game. It feels like a big match because you’re playing against one your former teammates. However, it’s what it really is. It's just another day for us.
We're looking for wins and they're looking for them to win. They want to stay where they are and move up in our standings. James was a good friend and built some connections with people. However, at the end of it all we just want to get out and hoop.
Irving didn't respond when Irving was asked whether he believed the Nets could have done more to keep Harden on long-term terms.
“Some of those questions James could probably answer better,” said he. “I came in late to things and was told one thing and then told another. Now it's a completely different situation. Now I'm answering questions on what happened. I don’t have a timeline to show if things could have been better.
Irving stated that he was looking forward to the atmosphere in Philadelphia, which both Irving and the coaches expect to be loud.
Irving said, “It is fun.” “It's fun. It creates good stories and good narratives. It builds up our league. While it's not too personal, we know that our competitors want to win. You must be determined, focused, and ready to do whatever it takes. We are confident that the Philly crowd will be as it should be.
“Everybody loves to build it up, but for us it's about more than just individual matchups. It's about us being together and working as a team to achieve what we set out.