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Ex-James Harden teammate makes shock prediction about his future

James Harden looking on

Nov 15, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) arrives to Toyota Center prior to the game against the Indiana Pacers. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

One guy can see a summer surprise coming for James Harden.

Speaking Wednesday on ESPN’s “NBA Today,” retired ex-center Kendrick Perkins made a shock prediction about Harden’s future. Perkins believes the former MVP Harden will sign with the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency.

Perkins’ prediction was one of several big ones that he made for this NBA offseason. You can see Perkins’ full list of predictions below.

There are a lot of reasons to doubt Perkins’ pick for Harden however. The Lakers already have roughly 40 percent of their cap for next year committed to the LeBron James-Anthony Davis duo. Harden also took a pay cut from the Philadelphia 76ers last season and probably won’t be willing to do so again as he nears 34 years old. Unless the Lakers are willing to send back Austin Reaves (whom they really want to keep) in a sign-and-trade AND renounce other free agents like D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura, a Harden signing feels very unrealistic.

Perkins is known for blowing hot air on television (sometimes literally so). But he does have a direct connection with Harden, having played with him on the Oklahoma City Thunder for two seasons from 2011-12. Harden is also a Southern California native — he was born in Los Angeles and went to high school in nearby Lakewood, Calif.

Still, the most likely options at this point for Harden’s free agency seem to be a re-upping with the 76ers or a return to his former team, the Houston Rockets. The Lakers might be better off pursuing this older ex-Harden co-star instead.

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