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Harden not surprised Irving, Durant left Nets: ‘There was just a lot of dysfunction’

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After the Brooklyn Nets watched their would-be superteam go up in flames this week, Brandon Newman and Mike Golic Jr. join the show to discuss whether the franchise will ever be able to recruit stars again.

When James Harden forced his way out of Brooklyn a year ago, there was a narrative that “he better get it right in Philadelphia, his legacy is on the line after leaving Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.”

A year later, after Durant and Irving have forced their way out of Brooklyn, Harden looks prescient.

And he’s not surprised Durant and Irving followed him out of Brooklyn.

“I didn’t just ask to leave for no reason...” Harden said Saturday, via the Associated Press.

“There was just a lot of dysfunction - clearly. There were many internal things that I’m not going to ever just say or put in the media or anything, and that was one of the reasons I chose to make my decision...

“But now, fast forward to today, I don’t look like the crazy one. I don’t look like the guy, or the quitter or whatever the media want to call me. Like, I knew what was going on and I just decided to, like, I’m not built for this. I don’t want to deal with that. I want to play basketball and have fun and enjoy doing it.”

Harden is too savvy to get into the details of the dysfunction he saw in Brooklyn, but he clearly feels vindicated.

There was context beyond dysfunction that led to Harden leaving the Nets — and the three stars were the cause of some of the issues. Harden pushed his way out of Houston to play with Irving and Durant — to chase a ring — but Irving was only playing road games due to his vaccination stance (and the New York City vaccine mandate), while Durant was out with a knee injury. The “big three” only played 16 games together, and soon after Harden forced his way to Philadelphia.

Harden comes out of Brooklyn looking like the smart guy who got it, but he still has a lot of legacy on the line heading into these playoffs.