National Basketball Association
James Harden, Ben Simmons chime in on new teams
National Basketball Association

James Harden, Ben Simmons chime in on new teams

Published Feb. 15, 2022 8:51 p.m. ET

Now that the dust has settled on their trade for one another, James Harden and Ben Simmons both appear to be getting comfortable with their new teams.

In the blockbuster trade of the NBA season thus far, the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers swapped the two All-Stars, and now both are getting a chance to talk to the media.

And Harden, for one, wasn't holding back in his first press conference with his new team.


Since being traded from Brooklyn, speculation has grown that Harden and Kyrie Irving's relationship was rocky, which played a part in Harden wanting out after spending one year with the Nets.

On Tuesday, he said he thought Irving's absence due to not being vaccinated impacted the Nets this season.

"Whatever he was going through or is still going through, that's his personal preference. But it did impact the team," Harden said. "Because originally, obviously, me, Kyrie and KD on the court, winning covers up a lot of that stuff."

What was supposed to the best trio of star power in the NBA was only able to play 16 games together in one-and-a-half years.

But while Brooklyn's championship aspirations might have faltered, Harden still believes that he can achieve his ultimate goal of winning a title with the 76ers, specifically because he'll be paired with Joel Embiid.

Embiid is currently enjoying an MVP-caliber season, averaging 29.5 points, 11.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists, while guiding the 76ers (34-22) to fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings.

While Harden was outspoken in his meeting with the media on Tuesday, Simmons was more reserved while speaking in Brooklyn.

But he didn't lack confidence in what he believed the Nets could become this season.

"I think it's going to be scary," Simmons said. "Having those guys right alongside me, it's multiple different weapons on the floor."

After an ugly split with the 76ers, in which he did not play a game for them since the playoffs ended last season, Simmons' return to the court will be much anticipated.

The Nets were able to snap their 10-game losing streak with a win over the Sacramento Kings on Monday night, and with the return of Kevin Durant on the horizon, there is reason for Simmons to feel optimistic about the Nets' prospects moving forward.

The 76ers and Nets face each other on March 10, and there are sure to be fireworks in that matchup.

If Tuesday was any indicator, both teams are happy with where they stand now.


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