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Ben Simmons traded for James Harden: LeBron James reacts to Kevin Durant All-Star draft snub

LeBron James’ reaction said it all when Kevin Durant ruthlessly snubbed James Harden hours after he was traded for Ben Simmons.

The Ben Simmons trade saga was brought to a resolution on Friday morning — but there were some awkward turns still to come.

Simmons has agitated for months to get out of Philadelphia and he finally achieved his goal of walking out the exit when he was traded to Brooklyn in exchange for Nets megastar James Harden.

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Simmons has reportedly already been in contact with Nets star Kevin Durant and, as reported by ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, is “thrilled with the change in scenery” as he leaves his toxic relationship with Philly to join fellow Australian Patty Mills in New York.

The deal means Brooklyn’s Big Three of Durant, Harden and Kyrie Irving have been broken up and it doesn’t look like there’s much love lost between at least two of the dominant trio. On Friday Durant and LeBron James — the two captains for the NBA’s annual All-Star clash — took part in a player draft to pick their teams and things hit a hilariously awkward note.

The pair chose their starting line-ups then their benches, and soon there were only two names left on the board — Harden and Rudy Gobert. Durant had the chance to choose his now former teammate, but snubbed the 32-year-old and instead recruited Gobert.

As Durant explained the thinking behind his decision, James lost it and had to cover his face with a clipboard to hide his laughter.

The All-Star draft was being broadcast live and the NBA on TNT crew were also laughing as Durant threw Harden under the bus, leaving him stranded as the final name on the board.

NBA legend Charles Barkley said: “When somebody want out, you let them go, don’t let them come back, I’m with you KD.”

James joined the fun, when he could get words out between fits of giggles, cheekily referencing Harden’s hamstring issue. “He hasn’t played. Is he healthy?” he said.

Barkley continued the comedy routine, responding: “He got traded, he’s healthy now! Trust me, LeBron, he’s rubbing some ice on that thing, he’s playing the next game!”

Speaking about Harden’s defection, Durant said he is “excited for our team”.

“Looking forward to finishing the season out with this new group and these new players,” he said. “Playoffs are right around the corner so we’ve got to fast-track it to get used to each other, but I’m excited.”

Asked how Brooklyn would cope without Harden, Durant added: “I feel like we got versatile players so we have to figure it out and figure out what works for us, but I’m just happy that we got guys who want to be part of this.”

The All-Star weekend takes place on Saturday February 19 and Sunday February 20.

Full All-Star line-ups

Team LeBron

Starters

LeBron James

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Stephen Curry

DeMar DeRozan

Nikola Jokic

Reserves

Luka Doncic

Darius Garland

Chris Paul

Jimmy Butler

Donovan Mitchell

Fred VanVleet

James Harden

Team Durant

Starters

Jayson Tatum

Joel Embiid

Ja Morant

Trae Young

Andrew Wiggins

Reserves

Devin Booker

Karl Anthony-Towns

Zach LaVine

Dejounte Murray

Khris Middleton

LaMelo Ball

Rudy Gobert

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