Star guard James Harden is reportedly opting out of his contract, and round and round the rumor mill goes. Where Harden winds up, nobody knows.
But it appears as if the options are either back with the 76ers, or a reunion with the Rockets.
Houston apparently expects it to be the latter, per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Harden’s interest in the Rockets is mutual, Pompey added, repeating other similar reports, dating back as far back as Christmas.
Harden is without question a fan favorite in Houston. His mother still lives there. It’s clear he still holds the city and organization close to his heart.
“He’s treated like a god in Houston,” a source told Pompey.
Meanwhile, the Sixers may have helped their cause by firing coach Doc Rivers, per reports. Harden is said to welcome a coaching change in Philadelphia.
Per Chris Haynes of TNT/Bleacher Report, Harden will decline the $35.6 million option on his contract this June and hit free agency in search of a four-year deal. But that’s not to say anybody will give him one.
Harden, 33, showed both signs of continued greatness and wear and tear as the 76ers were eliminated by the Celtics in seven games in the Eastern Conference semifinals. That was despite Philadelphia building a 3-2 series lead, largely behind some stellar play from Harden.
Haynes reported that “Harden will only entertain suitors that present a competitive roster and the basketball freedom for the star to be himself.”
Houston? Philadelphia? We may not know until Harden makes the announcement himself.
— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) May 19, 2023