The Philadelphia 76ers have constantly fallen short in the postseason in recent years. This may only get worse after reports that star guard James Harden is seriously considering leaving the team in free agency.
Harden has been with the organization since being traded from the Brooklyn Nets back in the 2021-22 season. However, he is seemingly struggling with the decision to either stay with the 76ers or return back to the Houston Rockets.
Shams Charania of The Athletic went on the Ryen Russillo Podcast, where he revealed that Harden is reportedly “torn” on either joining the Rockets or staying in Philadelphia.
REPORT: James Harden is “torn” over staying in Philly or moving on to Houston.
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) June 6, 2023
It’s certainly a surprising decision considering the Rockets were one of the worst teams in the league last season. Many took to social media to offer their opinion on this report.
I’ve heard mixed things about Harden back to Houston but these are the general themes:
1. Harden does not have a max offer on the table
2. Harden definitely wants to go to Houston as first preference
— Roosh (@RooshWilliams) June 6, 2023
To me this sounds like Daryl Morey is calling Harden’s bluff that he has a blank check written by the Rockets organization
Harden joining that young core has never fully made sense to me and I think all parties are beginning to realize that https://t.co/gxHrTx23Bk
— Sean Barnard (@Sean_Barnard1) June 6, 2023
Completely unbiased opinion, but I’d either opt in or agree to a one year deal with a player option with the Sixers if I’m James. Try and win one more time with a MVP caliber player, retooled roster, and a better coach. If it doesn’t work, then you can bolt to Houston. https://t.co/PtULO5OUuD
— Harrison Grimm (@Harrison_Grimm) June 6, 2023
James, Philly has A LOT to offer:
– Steak sandwiches with cheese whizz on 'em
– The highest density of haunted houses
– A cracked bell
– A statue of a fictional athlete who lost
How could you leave this https://t.co/BPEkYm9bNJ
— Paul Gallant (@GallantSays) June 6, 2023
Again, I don't think the four-year max money is going to be there. https://t.co/6PM2zw95rT
— Ben DuBose (@BenDuBose) June 6, 2023
Harden famously played for the Rockets for eight seasons and had some of the best years of his career during that time. He notably was named to the All-Star Game in every season in Houston, even earning an MVP award in the 2017-18 season.
The Rockets are now a far different team than they once were when Harden was on the team, with a number of talented but inexperienced players with big roles including Jalen Green and Alperen Sengun.
While the Rockets don’t exactly profile as a contender in the Western Conference, they do have some things going in their favor.
The Rockets recently hired former Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka, who has plenty of experience coaching at a high level. He notably helped the Celtics earn an NBA Finals appearance last season.
Houston also has the No. 4 pick in the upcoming 2023 NBA Draft, which could be used either on a promising prospect or a veteran to go along with James Harden if he doe ultimately return this offseason.