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Report: 1 team ‘very much in play’ for James Harden in free agency

James Harden dribbles

Feb 25, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden (1) brings the ball up court against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first quarter at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden will likely turn down his player option with the Philadelphia 76ers after the season, and it seems like he has his eye on one particular team if he decides to play elsewhere.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on the latest episode of his podcast that the Houston Rockets are still the team to watch if Harden leaves Philly.

“James Harden’s future is very unclear in Philadelphia,” Wojnarowski said, via RealGM. “Houston is very much in play for him. And I think a lot may depend on [whether] they make a run and win and it’s easy to pay him long-term big money, or he just wants to be in Houston. Win or lose he goes, or it’s dependent on the team’s success.”

Many view Harden returning to Houston as a likely outcome at this point. As Woj said, it is possible that Harden will be more motivated to remain in Philly if the Sixers make a deep playoff run, but this is not the first time he has been linked to his former team.

Harden still has family in Houston and strong ties to the area. The Rockets are coming off a 22-60 season and looking for a new head coach, so some wonder why Harden would want to be part of a total rebuild. There are also questions about whether Houston would want to construct a roster around an aging superstar who has had issues with teammates in recent years.

Harden played for the Rockets from 2012-2021. He won three scoring titles in Houston as well as an MVP award in 2018.


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