West Rumors: Rockets, James Harden, Blazers, Pelicans


Star guard James Harden appears to be serious about a potential return to the Rockets in free agency, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Harden is said to weighing whether to pay for the 76ers, or the Rockets, and reportedly is seeking a four-year contract. He is eligible for free agency later this month and is indeed expected to test it.

“I don’t think he knows, as far as what I know about his mindset, I don’t think he totally is there,” Charania said on the Ryen Russillo podcast. “We’re less than a month out from free agency starting. I really think he’s torn with the prospect of staying in Philadelphia or moving on to Houston potentially and returning back to his home.

“That’s where his roots are and his family there of course. They’ve got upwards of $60 million [in cap space]. They can make even more money available, close to $70 million in cap space.

“They’re going to have a ton of money and I think this is a team in Houston where I do believe they are going to be aggressive in the marketplace, potentially two-year deals, balloon-type deals. I’ve heard whether it’s Dillon Brooks, Brook Lopez, obviously James Harden. They’re going to be a team that’s going to be trying to beef up that roster. Now, whether that’s anywhere from three to five veteran players…

“My sense right now is that James Harden is someone who is torn.”

Harden, 33, showed signs of continued greatness, as well as some wear and tear, as the Sixers were eliminated by the Celtics in seven games in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Houston is expecting to be able to pry him away, per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“I think whichever way it goes, it’s going to be relatively close,” Charania said. “That’s why as we get closer to July 1, June 30th, those conversations that he’s going to have, as he becomes a free agent, with Nick Nurse and with Daryl Morey, what their vision is for him, what their vision is for that team, what that offer ultimately is going to be versus comparing it to whatever Houston comes with on June 30th or July 1, those are all very important factors. This is a guy that you would assume would sit down with both teams. Philadelphia is going to have a window earlier, potentially going in and scheduling meetings. This is a situation now where we’re going to see which way it lands.”

Trail Blazers

  • The Blazers consider guard Shaedon Sharpe untouchable in trade talks, per Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. Sharpe is coming off a promising rookie season, averaging 9.9 points and 3.0 rebounds.
  • That said, the Blazers are weighing what to do with the No. 3 overall draft pick, and whether to keep it, as they look to build around star guard Damian Lillard, Fischer added.
  • Lillard suggested he’s fine with staying in Portland and that he thinks the Blazers have the assets to build a competitive roster. We have that full story here.


  • New associate head coach James Borrego is known for having a sharp offensive mind, per Christian Clark of NOLA.com. The Pelicans were seeking someone with experience to assist coach Willie Green, Clark added.
  • Borrego coached Green on two occasions when Green was a player, Clark noted. The first came Borrego was an assistant in New Orleans, the other when Borrego was interim coach for the Magic.
  • Assistant Jarron Collins is expected to remain on Green’s coaching staff after being considered a favorite for the Pistons’ vacancy. That job eventually went to former Suns coach Monty Williams.
  • Duke center Dereck Lively II might make sense for the Pelicans with the No. 14 overall pick, Clark wrote in a separate piece. New Orleans could use the type of shot-blocking that Lively is expected to offer.

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