Kevin Durant Snubs James Harden in All-Star Draft Hours After Trade From Nets
LeBron James ended up selecting the one-time MVP with the final pick of the draft after Durant refused to take him
Already proven to be a person who will lash out if he feels slighted, Kevin Durant added to that reputation, albeit in a humorous way, by refusing to select ex-Net James Harden in the All-Star Draft hours after his former teammate was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers by Brooklyn for a package centered on Ben Simmons.
Durant, who is under contract with the Nets for years to come and likely gave management the go-ahead to deal Harden to Philly, passed up chance after chance to select Harden for one of the 12 spots on his All-Star roster until there were just three players remaining. That’s when James, who was being egged on by Charles Barkley and the rest of TNT’s Inside The NBA crew, selected borderline All-Star Fred VanVleet for his team, leaving Durant to choose between Harden (a former MVP) and Rudy Gobert (a defensive-minded big man). For Durant, the choice was obvious. “Imma need some size,” Durant explained.
James, who had helped orchestrate the drama, could barely conceal his amusement and used a clipboard to hide his face because he was giggling at the superstar snub-fest.
Though the All-Star selection process was generally light-hearted, it does seem like Durant is serious about moving forward without Harden, his former teammate in Oklahoma City and by all accounts one of his good friends, as the Nets try to make a title run.
“I’m excited,” Durant said. “Everybody got what they wanted. Happy we got guys who want to be a part of this.”
At the end of the day, Durant passing on Harden is more Mean Girls than meaningful, but it should add some spice the next time the 76ers and Nets meet up in the regular season and certainly would add some extra intrigue if the two teams meet up in the postseason. Simmons, who averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists over the last four seasons in Philadelphia after being drafted No. 1 in 2016 out of LSU, has an axe to grind against the 76ers as well.
Here are the full results of the draft. (He didn’t select himself, but James is playing for Team LeBron.)
First Round (Starters)
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Team LeBron)
2. Joel Embiid (Team Durant)
3. Stephen Curry (Team LeBron)
4. Ja Morant (Team Durant)
5. DeMar DeRozan (Team LeBron)
6. Jayson Tatum (Team Durant)
7. Nikola Jokic (Team LeBron)
8-9. Trae Young and Andrew Wiggins (Team Durant)
Second Round (Reserves)
10. Devin Booker (Team Durant)
11. Luka Doncic (Team LeBron)
12. Karl-Anthony Towns (Team Durant)
13. Darius Garland (Team LeBron)
14. Zach LaVine (Team Durant)
15. Chris Paul (Team LeBron)
16. Dejounte Murray (Team Durant)
17. Jimmy Butler (Team LeBron)
18. Khris Middleton (Team Durant)
19. Donovan Mitchell (Team LeBron)
20. LaMelo Ball (Team Durant)
21. Fred VanVleet (Team LeBron)
22. Rudy Gobert (Team Durant)
23. James Harden (Team LeBron)
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