The Nets' James Harden is not dressed for the game...

The Nets' James Harden is not dressed for the game against the Celtics at Barclays Center on Tuesday. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

At about 5 p.m. on Wednesday — 22 hours before the NBA trade deadline — the Nets made an official announcement about James Harden.

The team announced that Harden will miss Thursday’s game at Washington, the fourth in a row the All-Star will sit out because of a left hamstring injury.

Will the Nets have a different kind of announcement about Harden at or before 3 p.m. on Thursday?

The picture as of Wednesday evening was as clear as mud.

Reports continued to swirl that the Nets were talking to the Philadelphia 76ers about moving Harden in a package that would include holdout guard Ben Simmons and other key players.

On Wednesday morning, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on the show "Get Up" that "the sides are absolutely talking, absolutely negotiating. [Tuesday], the 76ers were out looking for other moves. Talking to other teams about other moves. Moving players. Opening roster spots. Leading those teams to believe they were getting ready to make the other deal. They have swapped offers. Really right now, it’s about haggling the ancillary parts."

However, on Wednesday afternoon, ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski shot down his own colleague’s report.

"Right now, there’s no negotiation going on between Philadelphia and Brooklyn," Wojnarowski said on ESPN Radio. "The idea that they are going back and forth that’s been surmised by some, I don’t believe that to be accurate."

So there you have it. The sides are either hashing out the final details of a trade that would rock the league. Or they’re not talking at all.

Either way, the Nets will take the floor in Washington on Thursday night at 7:30 without Harden and with a nine-game losing streak.

The unvaccinated Kyrie Irving, who was ineligible to play in Tuesday’s 126-91 home drubbing by the Celtics because of New York City’s COVD-19 rules, will return on Thursday.

Under current rules, Irving is also eligible to play in Brooklyn’s visit to Miami on Saturday, but not in their last three games before the All-Star break. Two are at Barclays Center and the other is at Madison Square Garden against the Knicks.

Without Irving and the injured Harden and Kevin Durant, the Nets fell behind 28-2 on Tuesday and suffered their worst defeat of the season.

Coach Steve Nash was asked after the game if the Nets’ front office had been supportive of him during this tough time or was perhaps teeing him up as a scapegoat as the team has fallen into the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.

"It's not come up," he said. "I think we recognize the position we're in. We're undermanned. We know what our record was when we were healthy. We're just going through a tough period. I think we’re all, if anything, tighter, from ownership, front office, coaches, players. Everyone's gotten tighter during this period. There will be growth from this. Regardless of how long it lasts. We’ve just got to keep our guys supported. It’s a tough stretch for them to go through. There's no other way out of it than to keep our heads down and stay together."

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