James Harden considers returning as a free agent for the Rockets

all-star protection James Harden seriously considering coming back Houston rocket in free agency this July — if he decides against a new deal with Philadelphia 76erssources told ESPN.

Harden and his inner circle have publicly considered Houston in recent months, sources say, one notable possibility is that he has requested and received a franchise deal not so long ago. full two years.

His future with the 76ers remains a flexible proposition, one that has emerged with eight straight wins, including one win 119-112 via New York Knicks in Christmas. Harden is playing effectively with the All-NBA center Joel Embiid, and the status of that partnership and the Sixers’ post-season success could be key factors in how Harden gets through this season. Going through a deep knockout in a frenzied, hungry market in Philadelphia could have a positive effect on his thinking — just as the consequences of being eliminated early.

Harden signed a two-year, $68.6 million deal with the Sixers, which includes a player option for 2023-24 that allows him to return to the company as a free agent this summer. Sixers is 19-12, fifth in the East and looking forward to returning to the rising star Tyrese Maxey in the next week.

Sources say that despite being forced to leave the Rockets in January 2021, Harden maintains some sort of magnetic pull towards Houston, drawn to the community, lifestyle and family there. After what will become relatively short stops in Brooklyn and Philadelphia, a return to the rebuilding Rockets franchise will effectively demonstrate comfort and familiarity to the pursuit of an immediate championship. ie.

Next summer, the Rockets are overwhelmed with pay caps and eager to improve significantly on the leaderboard. Rockets officials will have to assess how they believe Harden’s arrival will benefit the development of core young talent, including Blue Jalen, Jabari Smith and Kevin Porter Jr.., but his stature and talent still make him an attractive proposition.

In his post-Houston he stops with Embiid and Kevin Durant, Harden has continued to develop as a first guard. He is leading the NBA with 10.9 assists per game – including a career-high 21 assists in the previous win. Laser cutting on Friday.

Harden spent more than eight All-Star seasons with the Rockets, a period that included a 2018 MVP award and a trip to the Western Conference finals. Harden won three consecutive scoring titles with the Rockets and placed second behind Hakeem Olajuwon in franchise scoring of all time — and first in assists.

After cycling through hand-picked co-stars including Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook, Harden grew disgusted with the Rockets — and eventually the Nets. Sixers trading Ben Simmons, Seth curry and two future picks for the Nets as part of a Harden purchase in February.

For all of Harden’s history and connections to the Sixers’ basketball executive chairman, Daryl Morey and CEO Tad Brown, his working relationship with Embiid and coach Doc Rivers is like something like a work in progress. The Sixers gave up substantial assets to acquire Harden, and he is expected to continue to prioritize re-signing a new deal for the second summer in a row.


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