The NBA Trade Deadline is officially over, and so is the era of the short-lived Nets “Big Three” of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden. On Thursday, the Nets sent James Harden and Paul Millsap to Philadelphia in return for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and two first round picks (one in 2022 and one in 2027).
Prior to Thursday’s game against the Wizards, Steve Nash was not only asked directly about Harden, but also on looking ahead. The Nets head coach said he had not spoken with any of his players yet following the blockbuster trade deadline deal, but believes his players will handle the departure of Harden “as best as possible.”
“I haven’t seen any of the guys yet so I can’t speak for them,” Nash said. “They’re a resilient group though. They’ve been great through a tough period, so I think these guys know that side of the league is like and could be difficult. I’m sure they’ll handle it as best as possible.”
Though it had been a stressful few weeks full of trade rumors, gossip, and the like, Nash made known that he was excited to get to the next chapter of Nets basketball. He later used the word “finality” to describe the entire situation.
“Now for us, we just look forward and get excited about what the next chapter looks like,” said Nash. “And where we go from here.”
Later, during the broadcast of the All-Star Draft, Kevin Durant, captain of the Eastern Conference All-Star team, was asked about the Simmons-for-Harden deal by the TNT panel. His response was right in line with his coach’s.
“I’m excited for our team, looking forward to finishing the season out with this new group and these new playoffs,” said Kevin Durant. “There’s playoffs right around the corner, so we’ve gotta fast track into get used to each other. But I’m excited — I think everyone got what they wanted.”
Here are Durant’s full comments (with some funny back-and-forth between him and Charles Barkley).
But KD appeared to make his feelings known in the Draft. He had seven chances to pick Harden for his Team Durant. He chose not to.