Nets will not deal James Harden before NBA trade deadline: Steve Nash – New York Post

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DENVER — In the clearest terms possible, Steve Nash said the Nets aren’t dealing James Harden and the All-Star wants to stay in Brooklyn. 
With reports swirling that the Nets will listen to Philadelphia’s offers for Harden, Nash was asked if he could definitively say they won’t be moving him by Thursday’s trade deadline. 
“Yes,” Nash said unequivocally before the Nets’ 124-104 loss Sunday to the Denver Nuggets. 
Harden sat out a second straight game with a hamstring injury, but Nash said it had nothing to do with the trade rumors or the star’s purported dissatisfaction
“I’ve talked to James, he wants to be here and he wants to be here long term as well. I don’t think anything’s changed other than noise from the outside,” Nash said. “James wants to be here. We’re building with James and we think we have the best chance to win with James. So I don’t think anything’s changed on the inside in our locker room, in our communication. It’s just all the noise from the outside.” 
Kyrie Irving sounded far less sure. 
“James could speak better to that than I can,” Irving said. “We’ve had conversations, but I’m just getting back into the swing of things. How all those media plants start going around with rumors and stuff like that, I really do not concern myself with that. So the few conversations that we’ve had, he’s been really committed and we just hold on to his word. 
“But obviously when we’re going out to play games, we can’t even really think about it. So we’d love to have him in the lineup, but we want him at his optimal healthy self, version of himself. And then we let the rest take care of it. But who knows? Who knows what’s gonna happen?” 
The entire NBA world has been wondering ever since Harden rejected a three-year, $161 million extension last summer, meaning he can become a free agent this offseason. 
And while he had a financial reason to do so — able to make the most money if he were to re-sign with Brooklyn this summer, a four-year, $227 million extension — it was always going to raise eyebrows. His decline in play this season has raised more. 
A trade centered around Ben Simmons has long been rumored, and Harden has connections in Philadelphia even beyond 76ers president Daryl Morey. He is also is friendly with 76ers CEO Tad Brown (formerly the Rockets’ CEO) and co-owner Michael Rubin (CEO of Fanatics), and pals with Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill. 
Harden and Irving clearly haven’t been in sync, a minus-12 in their 172 minutes without Kevin Durant. But the Nets are convinced they’re a contender if they get their Big 3 fit. 
“This has been a constant thing since the summer,” Nash said. “He’s continually reiterated that he wants to be here, and we’ve continually said that we want him here and that that’s our best chance to win. So nothing’s changed from the communication we’ve had, and we just want to be conservative with them so we don’t lose them for big stretches. 
“We think when he’s healthy and Kevin’s healthy and Kyrie plays, our team is a totally different team. And we’re excited by it.” 
Harden is averaging 22.5 points, 10.2 assists and eight rebounds, but missed the last two with a left hamstring issue. 
“The scan is pretty good, but there’s a tightness and a strength deficit. So, for us, we just don’t want to take any chances. We know last year we lost him for an extended period and we want to be conservative and make sure he resumes full strength so there isn’t an extended absence,” said Nash, unsure if Harden would be back for Boston on Tuesday or at Washington on Thursday — trade deadline day. 
“It’s day-to-day, so hopefully. But it’s a matter of does that strength get back to where we feel confident and he feels confident that we’re not risking anything. That’s what we’re dealing with right now.” 
Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers expressed skepticism of the reports as well.
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