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Woj: Rockets “very much in play” for James Harden

Could Houston’s past and present collide to make a new future?

Houston Rockets v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

The rumors have been floating around for a while now on this one, and we have confirmation today from one of the NBA media’s biggest sources that James Harden is officially interested in joining back with the Houston Rockets in the offseason.

Adrian Wojnarowski said on his podcast today:

“There may be change even if they go to the Finals. James Harden’s future is very unclear in Philadelphia. Houston is very much in play for him.”

You can find the pod here.

With the team finally coming out of a three-year tank job in which they were also clearing a considerable amount of cap space, the Rockets could be an attractive target for free agents or trades. They have a plethora of young talent ready to blossom, plus an incoming high draft pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. In addition, James Harden has always loved H-town and still carries significant ties to the city, so it’s certainly not out of the question for this to happen. Particularly because one of the Rockets’ biggest needs is a veteran point guard.

If Harden is willing to come into Houston and help facilitate the development of Houston’s future and not have any demands toward ball domination, this could be a match made in heaven.

It could be an interesting attempt at a final act for Harden, particularly if the Philadelphia 76ers fail to win a title this year. Coming back to Houston and pasing the torch if you will to Rockets youngsters and potentially leading them to the postseason (and who knows, maybe a title) would be the kind of move that polishes up the legacy of an all-time great who also has taken his fair share of major criticism.

Harden has a $35 million player option left on his contract with Philly, so a sign and trade or straight opt out will both be possibilities, with the opt-out the more likely option. The Rockets are projected to have $47.2 million available under the salary cap this coming season, per Spotrac, so they certainly can afford The Beard’s return if they so choose.

Stay tuned, we’ll certainly be updating you on this one.