There is plenty of chatter about James Harden’s next move after Philadelphia flamed out against Boston in the second round.
NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported at Christmas time that Harden could be set to head back to Houston and that could still become a reality.
“Houston’s a very real possibility for Philadelphia’s James Harden in free agency,” Wojnarowski said on ESPN’s Get Up. “They’ve got upwards of $60 million in cap space. They want to be much better next season.”
Houston will still pursue Harden, even if they land the biggest fish in the 2023 NBA Draft, Wojnarowski says.
“There’s a comfort level in Houston for James Harden,” Wojnarowski said. “He’s got family there. He’s very comfortable in that environment, and this is an organization where he knows ownership. He knows the front office, and I think regardless for the Rockets of whether or not they won the draft lottery, if they win the lottery tomorrow night here in Chicago, and they’re the ones who can draft Victor Wembanyama, my sense is that would not necessarily change the Rockets’ intentions to pursue James Harden.”
Besides the Rockets, another team that is “prominently” on Harden’s radar is the Suns, NBA Radio’s Brian Geltzeiler reports.
They will be in need of a guard if they are to part ways with Chris Paul and the combination of Harden, KD and Booker could be just what Phoenix need to win a chip.
If Harden does decide to stay in Philly, it would all hinge on whether or not Doc Rivers is shown the door, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.
“Behind the scenes, from what I’m told, one person said to me it would be hard for me to see James wanting to come back and play for Doc again,” Shelburne reported.
The 14-season veteran could exercise the player option on his two-year, $68.6 million contract and enter free agency, or come back to play with Joel Embiid and attempt to get past Boston for the billionth time.
Harden was extremely vague when asked about what he wants to do next year: “I just want to have a chance to compete.”
Watch this space.