May James Harden-Houston Rockets reunion occur?

James Harden

James Harden
Picture: Getty Photos

James Harden is a deeply unserious franchise cornerstone. Nonetheless, within the midst of a pivotal, legacy-defining season for his profession, Harden could also be eyeing a return in free company to the Rockets franchise he compelled his method out of two years in the past, in response to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Harden wanting out at this specific time is sudden, to say the least. Harden signed a prove-it two-year, $68.6 million contract with Philadelphia within the offseason that features a participant possibility for subsequent season. So far, issues are going effectively. Philadelphia has gained 11 of its final 14 video games since Thanksgiving. Simply final week, he tallied a franchise-record 21 assists and is on monitor to be named to his eleventh consecutive All-Star staff. In the meantime, Joel Embiid continues to be peaking. Absolutely, Harden would have shot down this Woj Bomb posthaste on Christmas Day. As a substitute, he supplied up a traditional non-denial.

“I’m right here, we’re enjoying very effectively,” Harden stated after Philadelphia’s 119-112 victory towards the Knicks. “I don’t know the place the report got here from, however I’m excited to be right here, we’re enjoying effectively and we’re persevering with to get higher.”

Harden’s eyes have at all times been greater than his abdomen. In Oklahoma Metropolis he had staff success however longed to be the main star elsewhere. For practically a decade in Houston, he registered absurd numbers, however clashed with friends who may have helped him hoist a Larry O’Brien Trophy. He talked his method out of Brooklyn the place he, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving got here inches away from knocking off the eventual champs in a Sport 7.

He’s nonetheless in a perfect place to compete for rings with Philly, however he’s by no means appeared overly involved with championship pursuits. If he’s sending hints that he’s seeking to rejoin one of many NBA’s youngest groups, then it will seem he’s all however dropping by the wayside on a title.

He may have entertained a transfer to Sacramento or Atlanta or Los Angeles to hitch the Lakers, however Harden has tried pairing up along with his friends earlier than. He’s not constructed for that form of accountability. His low effort when confronted with adversity and slothful play are the most important pockmark on a playmaking savant who’s immensely proficient, however unable to entry the additional degree of effort megastars discover within the postseason.

He could also be making the calculation {that a} younger squad with its prime contributors all on rookie contracts off the subsequent two years wouldn’t be so squeamish about paying him $50 million a season.

A return to Houston just like the one LeBron had in Cleveland after Kyrie Irving, and Andrew Wiggins had been drafted first general by the Cavs is the dream. Or he believes he will be the elixir that Chris Paul has been to the Phoenix Suns. James Harden just isn’t that dude.

Anytime Harden faces increased requirements, he both chases his companions away or jumps ship. The grass is at all times greener on the opposite aspect. However Harden is delusional if he thinks he’s what Houston’s junior Rockets want proper now. At 34, Philly wouldn’t even decide to a long-term supermax deal resulting from Harden’s underwhelming play and poor conditioning throughout his first half season as a Sixer.

One other knock towards the percentages of a Houston reunion is that it’s solely been two years since he reported to coaching camp packing on extra further weight than Black Santa and moderately than giving it his all whereas a commerce was negotiated, performed lifeless on the ground till a deal was finalized.

Nevermind that he’d be a redundancy. Eight of the Rockets 9 prime gamers in minutes logged are 22 or youthful. Jalen Inexperienced, Jabari Smith, Kevin Porter Jr., and Alperen Şengün don’t want the unhealthy habits Harden would ingrain into their formative basketball minds. At 10-23, the Rockets possess the NBA’s second-worst successful share, which additionally places them in place to share the very best odds for the highest choose within the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes with Detroit and Charlotte.

Enjoying with Harden has by no means been an pleasant expertise. His final 5 years in Houston, his groups had been the exact opposite of Golden State’s platonic concept offense that created open photographs by sharing the ball. As a substitute, they had been final in participant motion from 2016 by means of 2021, in response to Second Spectrum, whereas Harden typically dribbled out the clock organising his personal playmaking alternatives. Paying Harden to develop previous, ornery, and lackadaisical on a burgeoning Rockets roster is a idiot’s errand. 

Rahul Diyashi
News and travel at your doorstep.

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