Harden is reportedly considering opting out of the final year of his deal with the Philadelphia 76ers in order to return to H-town, though there are some who feel that The Beard could be using the Rockets and their league-high $60 million in cap space in a leverage ploy on the Sixers. My hope is that this latest report on Irving is a leverage ploy also.
Irving is an unerestricted free agent after finshing up the past season with the Dallas Mavericks following a trade from the Brooklyn Nets earlier in 2023. He had a great year statistically, playing in 60 games between the two teams and averaging 27.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game on 49.4 percent shooting from the field.
But it’s never been Irving’s talent or production that’s been in question. Let’s just say, of all the veterans I would task with the makeup to come into Houston and help the young talent take the next step, Irving would be dead near last on my list.
The Rockets do need a point guard, but Irving to H-town doesn’t feel like it would end well for anyone involved. But don’t put it past “sources” to be dangling out Houston’s cap space to the media in an effort to get other teams to make a move, and fingers crossed that’s what is happening here.
It is worth noting that new Rockets head coach Ime Udoka was an assistant in Brooklyn in 2020-2021 when Irving was playing there, so there is a connection, and I know Tilman Fertitta is desperate to get back to winning (and well-attended) basketball, but Kyrie Irving is no way to fast track a rebuild.
Let’s hope Rafael Stone (and Udoka) feels the same way.