The games continue.
Not long before his team was to take the court vs. Boston, Steve Nash shot down trade rumors involving any Nets ... for the second time this week
Just hours after ESPN’s Brian Windhorst went on “NBA Today” to say “no matter what you hear from the Nets or the Sixers, the game is on. This negotiation is taking place.” and hours after The Athletic’s Sam Amick reported that the Philadelphia 76ers “truly believe that [James] Harden is heading elsewhere this summer,” and after Michael Scotto of Hoopshype reported that Joe Harris and Nicolas Claxton have also been mentioned in rumors, Nash had his say...
“Honestly, I think we’ll be exactly the same,” Nash said. “I think the chances of trades or deals happening for the deadline are so slim, especially for our group. My mind and attention is on this group and putting this thing together as guys become healthy again, and trying to build it for the stretch run.
“We continue to improve but also find that cohesion before we hit the playoffs given that we have limited time now. By the time Kevin [Durant] comes back, James [Harden] gets healthy; hopefully, we see more of Kyrie [Irving], and you go down the line: LaMarcus [Aldridge] as well. Nic [Claxton] as well, and Joe Harris.”
It’s been a trend as we close in on Thursday’s trade deadline, a feedback loop of one rumor contradicting another as smoke screens billow larger and larger.
It was the second time in three days that the Nets head coach offered what sure sounded like a definitive, on the record, comment on the possibility of a trade.
On Sunday, Nash made it clear the Nets have no plans to trade Harden. When asked if the team is going to trade the superstar guard, the Nets head coach responded to a reporter asking him to clarify that Brooklyn is not trading Harden. “Yes, that’s correct,” he responded.
Nash said that once — and maybe more importantly if — the Nets can get healthy, the runway of shared playing time can give the group the familiarity it needs to go on a deep run in the postseason.
“Right now for whatever it is, five or six of our top rotation guys are not in the lineup tonight and they’ll trickle back into the lineup. It’ll give us a certain amount of time, hopefully, more but it could be a short window to gain that cohesion. We went through that last year as well,” he said. “Hopefully, we can find that common experience, cohesion with whatever period we have left with everybody. Knock on wood, and we can be ready to go when the playoffs arrive.”
When asked for update on Harden’s left hamstring tightness, Nash said he didn’t quite go through shootaround Tuesday morning, but he was supporting his teammates. There is still a strength deficit when exploding needed to give the Nets and Harden himself confidence to return to the court with little risk. His status for Thursday’s game against the Wizards will dependent on the strength test results in the coming days.
“I think he’s still doing his strengthening. He’ll do court-work, but I think taking wheels off and exploding is still something he wants to cover,” said Nash on Harden’s progress with his left hamstring tightness. “When he shoots, it looks like James. But as far as changing ends and accelerating and all that stuff, we’re being conservative right now to continue to regain that strength. There’s a deficit right now, just to be safe and to look long-term, there’s no point in us risking a big patch of the season for him to be back where he was last year for long stretches.”
Claxton is slated to miss his second-straight game against the Celtics and is in a similar place compared to Harden. Claxton, who is also dealing with left hamstring tightness, needs to overcome a fear of awareness in his hamstring over the lack of strength.
“Similar place. I think a big part of Nic is more so the confidence than the strength,” said the Nets head coach on Claxton and his left hamstring tightness. “That’s where he’s at. He has an awareness and it’s a matter of him either getting his strength to a position where he overcomes the fear of that awareness and is able to play through it.”