Harden, however, more or less downplayed that theory.
“I’m here,” Harden told reporters on Christmas Day. “We’re playing very well, and I don’t know where that report came from but I’m excited to be here. We’re playing very well. We’re continuing to get better.”
Harden spent nine years of his career with the Rockets, leading them to the Western Conference finals. But those were back in the coach Mike D’Antoni days, when Daryl Morey was the Rockets’ GM. Morey, of course, now runs basketball operations in Philadelphia.
Today’s Rockets are quite different. They are rebuilding with the likes of guards Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr., as well as rookie forwards Jabari Smith and Tari Eason. And those are just a few of the young, promising names.
It’s hard to see where Harden’s return may benefit them more than at just the box office. So the report about him going back to Houston may just be a financial play put out by his agent — with the idea being to get more money out of the Sixers.
“His future with the 76ers remains a fluid situation,’ wrote Coty M. Davis of Sports Illustrated. “The most significant reasons that will determine Harden’s future in Philadelphia are post-season success and whether or not he could land a long-term contract with the franchise.”
ESPN Sources: All-Star guard James Harden is seriously considering a return to the Houston Rockets in free agency this July — if he decides against a new deal with the Philadelphia 76ers: https://t.co/ZqJGIL1ZeP
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 25, 2022