Is a James Harden-Rockets reunion on the horizon?
It just might be, with Harden, 33, reportedly “seriously considering” a return to Houston if he turns down a new deal with the 76ers, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Harden, who forced his way out of Houston two seasons ago in a deal that sent him to the Nets, has reportedly been considering the Rockets in recent months along with his inner circle, the NY Post reports.
The Rockets, who are 9-23, have fallen into a rebuild since trading Harden.
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The Sixers, meanwhile, won their eighth straight game after taking care of business against the New York Knicks. If Philadelphia, which entered Monday in fifth place in the East, makes a deep playoff run, it could impact his thinking.
Harden seemed unaware of the ESPN report before the game, and got testy when asked about it, according to the Philadelphia inquirer.
“Why would you ask me about that on Christmas, man?” Harden told the Inquirer. “You didn’t say Merry Christmas or nothing. You asked me about something that I ain’t even … I’m not answering. I didn’t see nothing.”
Harden, who entered Monday averaging 21.4 points and 10.9 assists in 17 games this season, has a player option for next season on a two-year, $68.6 million deal.
According to ESPN, Harden enjoyed the lifestyle and community in Houston, and could choose that familiarity over going for a championship with the Sixers or another contender. The 10-time All-Star’s relationships with Sixers coach Doc Rivers and star centre Joel Embiid are also described as a “work in progress,” according to Wojnarowski.
Harden spent eight full seasons with the Rockets, leading them as far as the Western Conference Finals and winning the 2017-18 MVP Award as well as three scoring titles. He was traded to the Sixers for Ben Simmons in February.
A reunion would put him with quite a different team than he left — one whose young talent includes Jalen Green, Jabari Smith, Kevin Porter Jr. and potentially another high-end talent from this season’s draft. It just might be what he wants, though.
This article originally appeared on the NY Post and was reproduced with permission.