Mills joined the Brooklyn Nets at a time where they were considered a championship favorite due to their deadly trio of Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving. Somewhere along the way, between the absences of Irving due to vaccine mandates and injuries, the Nets fell down to eighth in the Eastern Conference despite a strong start to the year.
It became apparent as the trade deadline was approaching that Harden was pulling something similar to what he did with the Houston Rockets and essentially quitting on his team in the hopes of a fresh start somewhere else.
Harden was inactive for the eight games leading to the NBA All-Star break with a hamstring injury that everyone knew wasn't actually a thing for the last several games. The ensuing trade swapping Harden for Ben Simmons led to a classic moment in the All-Star draft, where Charles Barkley commented about how Harden will magically be healed following the trade.
The trade was also undoubtedly a burden lifted off the shoulders of the Nets, including Mills, who's having a career year in Brooklyn.
"We're in a really good place from a team standpoint right now," he said during All-Star Weekend. "The locker room is closer than it's ever been this season."
After the trade was finalized, Patty's response was even more blunt.
Best of all, however, was a clip that surfaced in a Twitter thread by user @mattinaq.
Further down in the comments of his tweet, he shares a clip of a time when Patty rushed to pick up James from the floor during a game.
"Every time I help him up by myself, that counts as a lift," Mills then told Kevin Durant on the sideline.
Harden has a history of not maintaining a strict training regimen, frequenting nightclubs in lieu of getting rest, and just overall being a major distraction when he's not happy in a situation. Seeing even someone as wholesome and kind as Patty Mills seem to tire of him tells me a lot.
In his first press conference in Philadelphia, Harden's statement that he wanted to play for guys who "want to win" appeared to insinuate his teammates in Brooklyn didn't.
"When things hit the fan, he wanted out of there," said Tracy McGrady on TNT. "He wanted out of there. He wasn't hurt. You don't rehab a hammy by doing stepbacks."
It's tough to get on the bad side of someone like Mills, but fortunately for all involved, James is now Philadelphia's problem to handle. At least Patty can get back to regular lifting.