All-Star guard James Harden is severely contemplating a return to the Houston Rockets in free company this July — if he decides in opposition to a brand new take care of the Philadelphia 76ers, sources advised ESPN.
Harden and his internal circle have been overtly weighing Houston in latest months, sources stated, a exceptional chance on condition that he requested and acquired a commerce out of the franchise lower than two years in the past.
His future with the 76ers stays a fluid proposition, one which has been buoyed with eight straight victories, together with a 119-112 win over the New York Knicks on Christmas. Harden is on a productive roll with All-NBA heart Joel Embiid, and the state of that partnership and the Sixers’ postseason success might nicely be telltale components in how Harden proceeds previous this season. Experiencing a deep playoff run in a rabid, hungry Philadelphia market might positively affect his considering — simply because the fallout of an early exit might, too.
Harden signed a two-year, $68.6 million contract with the Sixers, together with a participant choice for 2023-24 that enables him to reenter free company this summer season. The Sixers are 19-12, fifth within the East and count on to return burgeoning star Tyrese Maxey within the coming week.
Regardless of forcing his manner out of the Rockets in January 2021, Harden has maintained one thing of a magnetic pull to Houston, drawn to the neighborhood, way of life and household there, sources stated. After what would turn out to be comparatively temporary stops in Brooklyn and Philadelphia, a transfer again to a rebuilding Rockets franchise would successfully characterize consolation and familiarity over an instantaneous championship pursuit.
For subsequent summer season, the Rockets are flush with wage cap house and an urge for food to make vital enchancment within the standings. Rockets officers should consider how they consider Harden’s arrival would profit the event of its younger core of expertise, together with Jalen Green, Jabari Smith and Kevin Porter Jr., however his stature and expertise nonetheless make him a beautiful proposition.
In his post-Houston stops with Embiid and Kevin Durant, Harden has continued to evolve as a pass-first guard. He is main the NBA with 10.9 assists per recreation — together with a career-high 21 in a victory over the LA Clippers on Friday.
Harden spent eight-plus All-Star seasons with the Rockets, a stretch that included a 2018 MVP award and a visit to the Western Convention finals. Harden received three straight scoring titles with the Rockets and ranks second to Hakeem Olajuwon in all-time franchise scoring — and first in assists.
After biking by hand-picked co-stars together with Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook, Harden turned disenchanted with the Rockets — and ultimately the Nets, too. The Sixers traded Ben Simmons, Seth Curry and two future first-round picks to the Nets as a part of a package deal to amass Harden in February.
For all of Harden’s historical past and reference to Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and CEO Tad Brown, his working relationships with Embiid and coach Doc Rivers resemble one thing nearer to a piece in progress. The Sixers gave up vital belongings to amass Harden, and he is anticipated to stay a precedence to re-sign on a brand new deal for a second consecutive summer season.
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