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Kevin Durant And James Harden Started Beefing Due To Harden's Lack Of Conditioning Before The Start Of The Season

Kevin Durant And James Harden Started Beefing Due To Harden's Lack Of Conditioning Before The Start Of The Season

James Harden's tenure on the Brooklyn Nets didn't end the best way, as the Beard struggled to make an impact on the team that traded for him last year in a blockbuster 4-team move. 

The guard looked great during his first season in Brooklyn, but things were completely different this one. He showed up to training camp out of shape, which caused him to lose the things that made him an offensive threat during his best years in Houston. This situation raised some eyebrows within the team and one person didn't like what they saw from the player. 

According to Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN, Kevin Durant didn't like Harden's lack of conditioning when he returned from vacation. That instantly created issues between them, which ultimately played a role in Harden asking for a trade from the Nets. 

Sources say that much of the discontent between Harden and the Nets started in September when he arrived into training camp out of shape. Durant had been understanding of Harden's predicament in Houston as a man in need of new scenery, but also tacitly expected his former teammate to commit himself to conditioning and self-care when he came seeking a title in Brooklyn, according to a source close to both stars. With Irving's status already in flux due to his unwillingness to get vaccinated, Durant was astonished in the opening weeks of the season at Harden's lack of explosiveness and sluggish play, something he attributed in large part to Harden's being out of shape, as he did the ensuing hamstring issues.

Harden, sources say, found Durant's slant grating and self-righteous. The two never resolved the conflict, and there was little that teammates, coach Steve Nash or Marks could do to mediate it. With each passing week, Harden became more isolated, with staff and teammates increasingly frustrated by the static. The Nets ultimately excised him from the locker room in a blockbuster trade deadline deal with Philadelphia for Ben Simmons.

This wasn't anything good for the Nets. They knew they needed their two stars together in the absence of the third string, Kyrie Irving. Durant and Harden managed to keep the team afloat and actually took it to the top spot in the Eastern Conference before things went south. One would have imagined that Harden's issue was with Kyrie's refusal to get vaccinated, but there was more of this story that we didn't know. 

Now Harden is in Philadelphia, trying to help Joel Embiid win a championship and get rid of the stigma that he chokes in the postseason, but his recent level points out that he's going to underperform again.