The Brooklyn Nets have become the story of the NBA, after signing yet another former All-Star (LaMarcus Aldridge) to their amazing cast. And while we don't know how this story will end for Brooklyn, we do have an idea as to how it started.
To start the season, it was only Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving who were with the Nets, and they were among the league's most intriguing duos at the time. After a few weeks, however, the Nets somehow pulled off a trade for James Harden, marking the beginning of the rise of basketball's newest super squad.
Today, in a story by Bleacher Report, it was revealed how Kevin Durant, specifically, was able to lure in the Beard from the Rockets.
“In November, the thought of joining Brooklyn grew more intriguing for Harden. He started training with Kevin Durant at the Mamba Academy, developing a relationship with the team.By Nov. 11, Harden indicated to Russell Westbrook he wanted to be traded to Brooklyn. As a result, Westbrook asked out. Not because of Harden's partying tendencies or the Rockets' culture issues, but simply because he knew Harden wanted out, according to multiple sources close to the Rockets."
A relationship began to develop between James and Durant, culminating in a desire by both parties to team up and create a "big three" on Brooklyn. In fact, if not for pure stubbornness on the part of the Rockets, we likely would have seen a trade happen sooner.
"Harden spent significant time in L.A. with Durant in mid-November and became fully committed to the idea of playing with the Nets. The two met to reaffirm their desire to play with one another and started laying the foundation for a trade, sources say. By Nov. 17, news of the potential deal had spread across the league. Harden and Durant thought it would be finalized on Nov. 22, when trades could officially be announced. But Rockets management changed its tune. Harden, Durant and the Nets had underestimated the Rockets' capacity to posture for a better deal. 'Houston was being difficult,' a front-office executive familiar with the Rockets' negotiating tactics at the time told Bleacher Report.”
So, Harden was sold on the idea of joining the nets as early as November 17th, almost two full months before the actual trade went down and a month before news of his trade demand went public.
One has to think that his plan all along was to hop on the Brooklyn bandwagon, even despite the fact he had other teams listed on his "preferred destinations" list.
In the end, Brooklyn pulled it off, and they certainly deserve credit for that. But if not for Kevin Durant, things could have worked out very, very differently...