The New York Knicks reached out to the Sixers about James Harden over the summer, but reportedly, the organization didn’t engage in serious trade talks. After months of waiting, Harden got his wish of going home to play for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Harden is set to make his Clippers debut on Monday at MSG. Although the game isn’t nationally televised, the NBA world will watch to see Westbrook-Harden-George-Leonard share the floor. Los Angeles hopes to bounce back from an overtime loss to the Lakers, while New York needs to overcome a two-game losing skid.
As Harden gears up for his first game of the 2023-24 season, he talked about Jalen Brunson and the Knicks in a rooftop interview with NJ Advance Media on Sunday. Harden spent the last few years in Brooklyn and Philadelphia, so he doesn’t have a lot of admirers within the New York fanbase, but it’s hard to disagree with what he said about the Knicks point guard.
"“He’s a wonder,” Harden said in a response to a question from NJ Advance Media during a rooftop interview at the Clippers hotel on Sunday.“He came here, I think of people doubted and had questions if he can be a leader on this team. And I think he’s proven to show people that he can, whether it’s scoring, whether it’s just his overall demeanor making that team better so since he’s been here, he’s been doing a really good job and the Knicks have a lot of winning ways.”"
James Harden calls Jalen Brunson “a wonder” ahead of Knicks-Clippers
James Harden receives a lot of flak, and rightfully so, but he knows a thing or two about basketball. He’s had an up-close look at Brunson the past couple of years with the Sixers, and he’s watched the Knicks rise up the Eastern Conference standings.
Brunson got off to a shaky start to the season, but he’s coming off a 45-point performance in Friday’s loss to the Bucks. Clippers head coach Ty Lue took note of that outing and praised Brunson for it.
"“You saw the other night, he had 45 against Milwaukee, who’s a really good defensive team. He’s a tough cover offensively and he’s really grown offensively."
He averaged a career-high 24 points in his first season in New York and is averaging 24.7 points per game thus far in 2023-24.
Brunson and Harden weren’t in Utah last year for All-Star Weekend, and many people felt that both had been snubbed. It’s yet to be seen if Harden will be in All-Star form playing in LA, but even with New York’s disappointing start, Brunson could be in Indianapolis in February for his first All-Star Game. Or at least, he should be.
Before we start looking toward what may or may not happen in February, let’s focus on what will happen on Monday night at the Garden. James Harden will make his debut, but hopefully, Jalen Brunson and the Knicks will spoil it.