Avery Johnson on James Harden to the Nets: “It could work”

Avery Johnson believes that James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets would be a great move for all parties involved

Tiki and Tierney
November 18, 2020 - 6:48 pm
James Harden Rockets

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While some former NBA players question whether the Brooklyn Nets should trade for James Harden, other former NBA players believe it would be a great move for all parties involved.

Count Avery Johnson in the latter category.

“One of the best things that can happen to James Harden is his usage rate really is reduced a little bit because of guys like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving being able to take some pressure off of him,” Johnson said on Tiki & Tierney. “James Harden is committed more on the defensive end, so I think this is a great opportunity. It could work.”

Harden and Durant were teammates in Oklahoma City and reached the NBA Finals together in 2012. They’ve also both been league MVP. Irving, meanwhile, was the Robin to LeBron James’ Batman in 2016, helping the Cleveland Cavaliers to an NBA title.

All three players would have to make concessions offensively, but if they do, the sky’s the limit.

“They’re in the Eastern Conference. I’m not sold on any team in the Eastern Conference,” Johnson said. “If Kevin Durant is healthy and Kyrie Irving is healthy and in the right mindset, this would definitely be my pick to come out of the East.”

The Philadelphia 76ers are also reportedly interested in Harden. If Harden goes to Philadelphia, Johnson says the Sixers would “absolutely” be a viable threat in the East.

“They got to have guys that can spread the floor, especially if they’re going to move Ben Simmons back to the point guard spot,” Johnson said. “If you’re looking at the Sixers – and I had a chance to go and watch them play – I just saw the floor shrinking and Ben Simmons didn’t have enough room to operate. So anybody that they can add to that roster to spread the floor, it’s the new NBA. The new NBA is not about ground-and-pound. It’s about spreading the floor and giving guys an opportunity to operate in space – and because of Ben Simmons’ lack of shooting ability, you need to surround him with as many shooters as you can if he’s still on the team and not involved in a trade.”