February 9, 2023

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James Harden is considering a Rockets reunion if he doesn’t stay with the Sixers beyond this season, per the report

James Harden is considering a Rockets reunion if he doesn't stay with the Sixers beyond this season, per the report

Santa has delivered Philadelphia Seventy Sixers Very strange thing. About an hour before opening on Christmas Day vs New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported That james harden is seriously considering reuniting with Houston Rockets next summer, on the condition that he decides to turn down the $35.6 million player option for the 2023-24 season and not re-sign with the Sixers.

Harden Coming off a 20-point, 21-assist, 11-rebound performance In a 119-114 victory against Los Angeles Clippers Friday. He signed a two-year, $68.8 million contract with Philadelphia in July. The Sixers have gone into Christmas on a seven-game winning streak, but according to ESPN, they’re still drawn to Houston for several reasons.

From ESPN:

Sources said Harden and his inner circle have been publicly weighing in on Houston in recent weeks and months, a notable possibility considering he requested and received a deal from the franchise less than two years ago.

Despite being forced out of the Rockets in January of 2021, Harden has maintained something of a magnetic pull to Houston, drawn to the community, lifestyle and family there, sources said. After what would turn out to be relatively short stops in Brooklyn and Philadelphia, returning to rebuild the Rockets franchise would effectively mark the comfort and familiarity around the immediate pursuit of a championship.

For all of Harden’s history and connection to Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and CEO Tad Brown, the working relationships with Embiid and coach Doc Rivers resemble something akin to a work in progress. The Sixers gave up significant assets to acquire Harden and he is expected to remain a priority to re-sign to a new deal for the second consecutive summer.

Harden scored 29 points, 13 assists, four rebounds, four steals and a block against the Knicks, and the Sixers cruised to a 119-112 victory, improving their record to 20-12. during the game, Jake Fisher reported from Yahoo Sports That Harden has had an eye on Houston dating back to when he was a member of the Brooklyn Nets.

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Afterwards, Harden briefly addressed the rumors.

“I’m here,” Harden told reporters. Via Ky Carlin from Sixers Wire. “We’re playing very well and I don’t know where that report came from, but I’m excited to be here and we’re playing very well. We just keep getting better.”

Before the match, Harden was in no mood to discuss this topic. From Philadelphia InquirerKeith Pompey:

Asked before the game about the report, Harden replied, “What report?”

Harden said he didn’t know what the reporter was talking about, and became agitated when asked about rumors he was considering returning to Houston.

“Why are you asking me about that at Christmas, man?” He said. “You didn’t say Merry Christmas or nothing. You asked me something I’m not even… I don’t answer. I didn’t see anything.”

Harden later told why the question should be asked, to which he replied, “I don’t speak right now before the game.”

Harden wasn’t even a Sixer for an entire year. He landed a blockbuster trade in February, sending Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and two first-round picks to the net. This trade followed his January 2021 trade from Houston to Brooklyn. Either way, Harden asked for a trade. When he re-signed with the Sixers, he took just enough money to add them to the roster in free agency. Philadelphia signed the Rockets’ PJ Tucker and Danuel House, and in October, The league removed its second-round picks for 2023 and 2024 After an investigation revealed that she had entered into discussions with Tucker & House before she was allowed to do so.

lately Fox Sports directed by Yaron WeitzmanSixers president Daryl Morey said Harden and Embiid “talk more than any all-star group I’ve ever put together.” In the same story, Harden said, “Honestly, the only thing I miss is heroism.” According to ESPN, Harden may be months away from leaving the all-around championship-winning team to join the team he left less than two years ago, a team that now has a 9-23 record, the worst in the West, and is fourth bottom of the league in both fields. Attack and defense.

Harden turns 34 in August. 20-year-old Jalen Green, 21-year-old Jabari Smith Jr. and 20-year-old Alperin Singon make up the current core of the Rockets. These timelines don’t seem to align at all, but we’ve seen something like this before: when LeBron James returned to… Cleveland Cavaliers In 2014, Kyrie Irving was 22 years old and Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson were both 23 years old.

James didn’t come back to Cleveland, just to play with a bunch of kids. The Cavs traded 21-year-old Anthony Bennett and 18-year-old Andrew Wiggins — at the time, the last two No. 1 picks in the draft — for Kevin Love. Months later, they traded waiters in a deal that brought back J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert. If Harden ends up returning in a similar fashion, the Rockets will have to ask themselves not only whether or not they want to return to Beard’s work, but whether or not they want to forgo the rebuild in order to try to build an immediate contender. The more they get selected in the 2023 draft, the more interesting this discussion becomes.

In 18 games this season, Harden has averaged 21.8 points, 11.1 assists and 6.4 rebounds in 38.1 minutes, with a utilization rate of 25.6% and a real shooting percentage of 58.9%. He would lead the league in assists if he played enough games to be eligible.