James Harden rumors: Potential Nets-Raptors playoff series contributed to exit

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Former Nets star James Harden was reportedly concerned about playing the Toronto Raptors in the playoffs with Kyrie Irving refusing the COVID vaccine.

It’s been widely discussed why Kevin Durant wanted to part ways with James Harden, and it’s also been revealed why Harden had his own reasons for wanting out of Brooklyn.

SportsNet New York indicated that there are other reasons Harden was looking for a hard out at the trade deadline.

“According to a source, the prospect of playing the Raptors in the postseason was one of the reasons James Harden was concerned about Irving’s vaccine status earlier in the season. Harden, as you know, forced a trade from Brooklyn to the Philadelphia 76ers prior to the deadline.”

James Harden was concerned about Raptors playoff berth with Kyrie Irving’s vaccine stance

Because of Canadian laws preventing the spread of COVID-19, the Toronto Raptors have mandated that anyone who plays in Toronto must be vaccinated.

Irving has clarified over and over that he will not get the vaccine no matter how it affects his teammates, even into January. While New York City is changing the COVID-19 vaccine mandate laws that prevent Irving from participating the majority of the season, there is no indication that Canada will be amending its vaccine laws as well. For that reason, the Nets would be hampered without Irving, and the Brooklyn team has already struggled in his absence throughout the season.

While the Nets have yet to benefit from the Ben Simmons-James Harden trade, Philadelphia is already reaping the benefits. Harden has had a historic start with the Nets, and his chemistry with Joel Embiid signals a new beginning for the 32-year-old. Finally, Harden can rest easy knowing he won’t have to battle in the bottom playoff brackets against a Canadian team that could take advantage of the easy mismatch.

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