Latest on the Nets’ James Harden pursuit and frustration over Kyrie Irving’s absence

Kyrie Irving passes vs Wizards
Kyrie Irving passes vs Wizards

The Brooklyn Nets are among the teams still pursuing Houston Rockets star James Harden, league sources confirm.

Reports from The Athletic and ESPN state that the Rockets are considering offers from Brooklyn and the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Rockets seek a significant number of first-round picks from Brooklyn in a Harden deal, sources say.

It’s unclear if Brooklyn is open to including star guard Kyrie Irving in a trade.

If you’ve been paying attention to the public statements made by Nets leadership over the past few days, it’s clear that the Nets aren’t happy with the situation surrounding Irving.

Nets head coach Steve Nash has been asked several times if Brooklyn is satisfied with the way Irving has communicated his recent absence. He has declined to answer directly, saying that it’s a private matter.

Nets GM Sean Marks released a statement on Tuesday about Irving. Usually, these types of organizational statements offer support for the player. There was no mention of organizational support for Irving in the statement.

Privately, there is distinct frustration within the organization over the Irving situation.

Irving has missed five straight games due to what the team has called «personal reasons.» The NBA is investigating a video that appears to show Irving at an indoor gathering without a mask, which may be in violation of the league’s COVID-19 protocols.

The Nets haven’t provided a timeline for Irving’s return.

A source with knowledge of the situation told SNY early Tuesday that there is concern that Irving may not be back «anytime soon.»

ESPN reported Tuesday that the Nets don’t expect Irving to return before the end of the week.

One other point of clarification on Irving’s situation: There have been several reports stating that Irving is away from the team in the wake of the riots at the US Capitol Building last Wednesday. One source familiar with Irving’s thinking says that part of the reason he’s been away from the team is frustration in the aftermath of the news that the Kenosha police officer who shot Jacob Blake won’t be facing any criminal charges.

Irving, per reports, had been concerned that the NBA resuming its season in the Orlando bubble last summer would take attention away from the efforts around the country to push for social justice and equality.

Just to be clear: I don’t know – and am not going to guess – about all of the reasons Irving is away from the team. I’m just clarifying that the recent events surrounding the Jacob Blake case were one of the reasons Irving has been away from the team. And that event, moreso than the riots at the Capitol Building, contributed to Irving being away from the club.

One other note on the Harden trade: several teams monitoring the situation expected the Boston Celtics to make a run at trading for Harden. People close to several Celtics players who were likely to be in a Harden trade were prepared for Boston to make a move. Per The Athletic and ESPN, that now seems unlikely. Both outlets say the Rockets are considering final offers from Brooklyn and Houston.

The Athletic first reported that the Nets continued to have interest in Harden.