James Harden to Houston rumors definitely aren’t new, but there is fresh and consistent chatter about how unclear his future is in Philadelphia.
Wojnarowski provided an update on his podcast and explained that Harden sticking around will hinge on how deep the 76ers go in the postseason, otherwise he will be headed back to Houston.
“There’s going to be change there if they don’t – there may be change if they go to the Finals,” Wojnarowski said on The Woj Pod. “James Harden’s future is very unclear in Philadelphia. Houston is very much in play for him. And I think a lot may depend on [whether] they make a run and win and it’s easy to pay him long-term big money, or he just wants to be in Houston. Win or lose he goes, or it’s dependent on the team’s success.”
The Sixers are certainly off to a great start against Brooklyn after notching another win in Game 3 to take a 3-0 lead, but they will need to beat two of the best teams in the league – the Celtics and the Bucks to reach the Finals.
Another NBA Insider recently suggested that Philly will look to replace Harden with Blazers veteran Damian Lillard.
Those rumors are now in full flight because Lillard was sitting courtside at Game 3 of the Nets vs. 76ers playoff series on Thursday.
Harden has to play second-man on offense to MVP-frontrunner Joel Embiid on the Sixers and Harden’s old Nets assistant coach Jacque Vaughn praised his ability to make it work, while crediting his individual skill.
“He’s figured out how to play with Joel, and they’ve changed from the beginning,” Vaughn said. “You see them play pick-and-roll. What that looks like, still has the ability to make shots which he did the other night versus us high level still playing at this time of the year.
“He’s a high-level, talented basketball player, and I think he sees things before they happen. You give him credit for that. He’s able to orchestrate on the fly. He knows where to put guys in order to take advantage of situations. He’s always had that knack.”
Harden spent the prime of his career at the Rockets, who just finished the season tied with the Spurs for the second-worst record in the league, so it would certainly be a big adjustment if the 33-year-old were to return there.
More to come.