When James Harden arrived in Brooklyn having forced his way out of Houston where he had enjoyed all the major successes of his career, it was expected to be the dawn of a new dominant superteam. The Nets already boasted Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving among their ranks and the addition of Harden was expected to make them the most unstoppable force the NBA had seen since the Golden State Warriors with Durant.
As we know now though, things didn't turn out that way and just a year on from that point, Harden finds himself a Sixer. His will to be a part of the big three in Brooklyn was something that died quite quickly, considering the things he had been saying to the media as late as October of last year.
Harden had a player option in his contract for next season, something he had not picked up earlier in the season even after refusing an extension offer from the Nets. There was a lot of speculation around whether this meant he was looking for a move but Harden shut it down during the Nets' Media Day ahead of the season, expressing his desire to stay with the team long term.
"Honestly, I’m just going to take my time. I’m focused on trying to bring a championship to the city. But as far as an extension, I’m just being patient with it. I went through a lot last year and I want to make sure I’m in the right mindset and knowing long-term that ultimately I want to be in Brooklyn for the rest of my career. So it’s no rush.”
“It’s not about the money to me. I’m been on enough teams where we fell short, so my mindset and my goal is to make sure that we’re able to build this team to be able to compete and contend for multiple, multiple years at the highest level so it’s not about the money. If you win a championship in New York, the money will come.”
Considering that this was in October, the issues that unfolded between Harden and the rest of the Nets must have been of some magnitude if it meant he was looking to make a move in just 3 months after this. This is another example of how fast things change in the NBA, and while Nets fans have every right to feel hard done by, at least everyone is now where they want to be and looking to focus on hooping instead of any off-court drama.