Coming off one of the worst scoring performances of his NBA career and amid trade rumors, James Harden (left hamstring tightness) is out for Friday night’s game against the Jazz.
For the record, Steve Nash explained how the team is holding the superstar guard out due to precaution, with the hope he can build strength in the hamstring in the coming days. The Nets head coach wasn’t committal on his guard playing Sunday against the Nuggets.
“We want to be cautious with him and also just build up his strength a little bit for one or two more days,” Nash said. “Hopefully, he’s able to go on Sunday but whatever we get that strength or recuperation of a little strength deficit, we feel like he’ll be safe to go. Just being cautious.”
The Nets head coach doesn’t believe the hamstring injury is severe and turned down an MRI when asked if he believes the guard will need a scan. Nash followed by explaining that Harden “felt some awareness” in his hamstring during the Nets 112-101 defeat to the Kings Wednesday night, and how that played a factor in his poor performance.
“I don’t think it’s that bad. I think it’s more precaution,” Nash added. “Really make sure we can strengthen him, give him an extra day, and see if that gives us a big dividend. It’s not worth risking him, like last year when we lost him for an extended period. Just being very cautious.”
As for the big rumor — that the Nets are now willing to listen when Philadelphia calls about Harden — spoke in generalities about the trade deadline.
“I think it's an age-old dilemma. I remember being a player and people sometimes in certain years feel it more than others. A trade deadline is a part of the job. You have to do a good job being a professional and not allow it to affect your play,” Nash said.
In comments after the Nets Zoom call with the media, Nash told Brian Lewis that he and his point guard are in “lockstep” re rumors.
“We’re in lockstep, so I don’t think he pays attention in that way where it affects him. And he certainly knows my tone is like ‘its me and you, buddy. We’ve got to figure this out and keep going, keep pushing.’
When asked about whether the current six-game losing streak will push the Nets to do something at the deadline, Nash doesn’t see the organization taking a “reactive” approach due to the recent stretch of losing. Instead, the Nets head coach explained how he believes the team has the pieces to be a great contender, but health has kept that from displaying a full product.
“I don’t think our organization is the type that’s reactive. We lost some games, make a trade. I think we’ve built something here that we have a great chance to compete for a championship when healthy,” Nash said. “None of us are panicking or saying we don’t have the pieces to win. We just haven’t had them on the floor at the same time. I don't see any type of reactive stuff going on at all.”