The future of James Harden has been one of the more intriguing storylines in this NBA offseason. After a disappointing season in Philadelphia, Harden announced his intention to decline his player option year. Furthermore, it is believed that Harden doesn't want to play year-to-year, and is looking for a contract in the region of four years in free agency. Harden averaged a double-double in 2022-23, with 21.0 and a league-leading 10.7 assists per game.
While the Sixers, under the leadership of new head coach Nick Nurse, were eager to get Harden back, there was another prominent suitor. The Houston Rockets were reportedly extremely eager to engineer a reunion with Harden. While the market was expected to be healthy for the veteran, the Sixers and Rockets had emerged as definite frontrunners.
Rockets Out Of Harden Race; Sixers Stay Likely
However, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic, Nurse may have altered Harden's fate. “In recent days I've understood that Houston is no longer an option for James,” Iko said in a livestream. “I would call them out of the running. From the Rockets' perspective, that makes sense considering James was never interested in taking any kind of discount.” Furthermore, this indicates that despite having the highest cap space in the league, the Rockets weren't eager to lock Harden down for a long time.
Iko continued. “From that meeting I'm told that James was pretty on board with everything that Nick Nurse was saying in terms of trying new ways to optimize him, trying new ways to kind of re-vamp or re-tool that Philadelphia 76ers offense where we saw in that second half collapse and the series overall, their offense was kind of bland,” Iko said on a live stream. While it's not confirmed that Harden will return to Philadelphia, it appears that Nurse has stacked the cards in their favor. However, where do you think Harden will land? Let us know in the comments. Follow all the latest NBA news here at HotNewHipHop.