James Harden is certainly no stranger when it comes to being entangled in NBA rumors. Since joining the league as a rookie in 2009, he’s played for four different teams.
According to a new report by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the possibility of Harden leaving the Philadelphia 76ers and returning to the franchise where he turned into a league MVP is being “seriously considered” if he decides to hit the open market.
Harden, who previously played in Houston from 2012-21, is eligible to become a free agent this summer if he declines a player option on the 2-year deal worth a little more than $68 million he signed with the Sixers this past offseason. While Wojnarowski notes that “experiencing a deep playoff run in a rabid, hungry Philadelphia marketplace could positively impact his thinking,” there are a number of factors — including the possibility of the Sixers getting bounced from the postseason early — that could lead to him wanting to head to his old stomping grounds.
Despite forcing his way out of the Rockets in January of 2021, Harden has maintained something of a magnetic pull to Houston, drawn to the community, lifestyle and family there, sources said. After what would become relatively brief stops in Brooklyn and Philadelphia, a move back to a rebuilding Rockets franchise would effectively represent comfort and familiarity over an immediate championship pursuit.
The Rockets traded Harden early in the 2021 campaign to the Brooklyn Nets, for whom he played 80 games before getting sent to the Sixers at the trade deadline in 2022.