The rumors about James Harden returning to the Houston Rockets are lining up to be true. Since the middle of the season, even as the Philadelphia 76ers showed the potential to be a much-improved team, the possibility existed that the former MVP would go back to the team he rose to superstardom with. Now, the reunion is seen more as a likelihood.
The Rockets are now expecting a reunion with Harden in free agency, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The report states that Harden’s interest in going back to Houston, where he is “treated like a god” and has many family members living nearby, was legitimate and that NBA executives also believe Harden will return.
“The franchise expects to reunite with him, sources say. Before hiring Ime Udoka on April 25, head coaching candidates were asked for their opinion on coaching Harden during the interview process, according to sources,” Pompey writes. It seems as though the Rockets have somewhat expected his return for a while now.
The Harden-to-Houston rumors were speculated to be just a leverage ploy to ensure the Sixers would offer Harden a maximum contract. Now, it’s even clearer that the Beard is willing to leave the Sixers despite the fact that they fired head coach Doc Rivers, who reportedly had a big rift with the star guard.
The Rockers were the betting favorite to land Harden despite their roster not giving him a chance to win now, which is something he desired. Now, Houston is more likely to make moves to give him a better supporting cast, which includes moving the fourth overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.
Meanwhile, the Sixers now have to figure out what to do. They don’t have the cap space to outright sign another star nor the asset chest to trade for one. A roster featuring Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey is still a very good one but without Harden’s playmaking, Philly will have to make up for it in other areas.
After James Harden was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in 2021, Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta said that he is welcome back to Houston. It seems as though Harden will be taking him up on his offer.
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Courtesy : https://clutchpoints.com/nba-rumors-james-harden-returning-to-houston-gets-massive-shot-in-the-arm