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Report: James Harden’s 76ers future could come down to 1 big factor

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

James Harden will be a free agent once the NBA offseason starts, and there are lingering questions regarding whether he will return to the Philadelphia 76ers. Whether he does or not may come down to one decision on the organization’s part.

ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne said on “NBA Today” Monday that Harden is not enthusiastic about playing under coach Doc Rivers, and that the Sixers would likely have to fire Rivers if they want to retain Harden.

“James Harden was not all that supportive of Doc Rivers in his press conference yesterday,” Shelburne said. “I think behind the scenes, from what I’m told, one person said to me, ‘it’d be hard for me to see James wanting to come back and play for Doc again.’ This is going to be a situation where those two decisions are linked.”

Harden was lukewarm after Sunday’s loss to Boston when asked about Rivers, simply describing their relationship as “OK.” It took just a day for rumors to emerge linking Harden to one of his former teams.

The Sixers have yet to make a decision on Rivers’ future, as the coach has two seasons left on his contract. With another second round exit, they could move on from him to keep Harden. They could also opt to part ways with both of them.

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