James Harden reportedly ‘torn’ between Philadelphia and Houston

2023 NBA Playoffs - Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers

2023 NBA Playoffs – Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Reports of James Harden strongly considering a Houston reunion have grown stronger throughout the season, with reports here at NBC Sports and in the NBA media universe.

But would Harden really leave a contending team in Philadelphia to join a rebuilding team in Houston? He seems torn by his decision, Shams Charania of The Athletic said on The Ryen Russillo Podcast (Real GM hat tip).

“We are less than a month away from starting free agency. I really think he’s torn about the prospect of staying in Philadelphia or potentially moving to Houston and returning home. That’s where his roots are and his family there of course. They have over 60 million dollars [in cap space]. They can make even more money available. Nearly $70 million in ceiling space. They’re going to have a ton of money and I think that’s a team in Houston where I think they’re going to be market aggressive…

“My feeling right now is that it’s somebody who’s torn. I think no matter how it goes, it’s going to be relatively close. That’s why as we get closer to July 1, the June 30, these conversations he will have, becoming a free agent, with Nick Nurse [the new 76ers coach] and with Daryl Morey, what their vision is for him, what their vision is for this team, what that offer will ultimately be versus what Houston offers on June 30 or July 1, those are all very important factors. He’s a guy who you would assume would sit with both teams. Philadelphia is going to have an earlier window, potentially coming in and scheduling meetings. It’s a situation now where we’ll see which way it lands.

Both league sources NBC Sports spoke to and other media traveling with the NBA Finals — Harden was a talking point over meals — believe Houston is the frontrunner. In league circles, Harden is almost expected to be a Rocket next season, even though no one thinks anything is decided.

Is this the right decision for the Rockets? They have an interesting young core with the one they take over at No. 4 plus Jalen Green, Alperen Şengün, Kevin Porter Jr., Jabari Smith Jr., Tari Eason and others, but there is no ready group to win a lot of games on the NBA level yet. The Rockets have gone through three years of rebuilding, and reports indicate the ownership wants to start seeing wins and a trip to the playoffs. Harden brings them closer to that now, but at what cost to building a long-term winner and culture?

The ball is in Harden’s court. The only real questions are, did he decide, and how much would the Rockets offer? (The maximum is four years, $201 million, but do they want to pay him $50 million per season for four years with where his skills are currently and trending?)

Learn more about the Rockets

Coaching, front office updates: Sam Cassell heads to Celtics bench NBA coaching updates: Stotts to Bucks, Young paid to stay with…Nick Nurse reportedly enticed by idea of ​​working at new with Morey with 76ers

James Harden reportedly ‘torn’ by Philadelphia v Houston originally appeared on NBCSports.com

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