NBA

Harden left the Nets 'for a reason' after helping Embiid best former team

By Sports Desk February 12, 2023

James Harden said he left the Brooklyn Nets "for a reason" after he and Joel Embiid starred in the Philadelphia 76ers' win over his former team, describing his time in Brooklyn as "frustrating".

Harden scored 29 points with six rebounds and six assists on his first appearance at Barclays Center since pushing for a trade to Philadelphia last year, helping the Sixers record a 101-98 win.

The 2018 NBA MVP and 10-time All-Star was criticised for his decision to seek a Nets exit just over a year after being acquired from the Houston Rockets.

Harden was keen to get a few things off his chest after Saturday's win over Brooklyn, who are working with a new-look roster after the recent departure of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Asked if he could have foreseen a situation where both of those stars followed him through the exit door, Harden said: "Yeah. I didn't just ask to leave for no reason. It wasn't right.

"I was in a really good place in Houston. Obviously, we didn't have a chance to win a championship, but I was comfortable. 

"So for me to up and leave my family, all the things I created there, to come to Brooklyn for a year and a half to try to just get up and leave, it was for a reason, you know what I mean?" 

Pushed on whether the Nets could have done anything to keep him, the guard added: "Yeah, there was. Like, a lot of things.

"But it was just a lot of dysfunction, clearly. A lot of internal things that I'm not going to ever say or put in the media or anything. That was one of the reasons why I chose to make my decision.

"But now, fast-forward to this date, I don't look like the crazy one. I don't look like the quitter or whatever the media want to call me. 

"I knew what was going on and I just decided, 'hey, I'm not built for this'. I don't want to deal with that. I want to play basketball and have fun and enjoy doing it. Fast-forward to today, they've got a whole new roster."

Asked to sum up his time in Brooklyn, Harden described it as "frustrating", bemoaning his lack of game-time alongside Durant and Irving after the trio only played 16 times together.

"The reason I made that decision to get out of my comfort zone, to leave Houston and do everything that I did to get out of there was to come in and play with KD and Kyrie," he said.

"That didn't happen as much as I would like to or probably the organisation wanted to. It was just something where I knew it wasn't going to change. I had to make an individual decision for the betterment of my family and my career

 "It's a lot of what-ifs when you play less than 20 games together. So it's a little bit frustrating, but it is what it is. Hopefully, everybody's in a good place now and we can move on."

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