The Philadelphia 76ers and James Harden have to determine whether or not they will continue working towards a championship, or go their separate ways in the coming weeks.
Harden’s first full campaign as a Sixer in 2023 was a successful one, at least from a numbers standpoint. He averaged 21.0 points, 6.1 rebounds and 10.7 assists in 58 regular-season appearances. Coming off back-to-back eliminations in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, it could be time for the former MVP to explore other options.
Best landing spots for James Harden
A return to Houston where Harden played most of his best basketball would make a lot of sense. The Rockets have the cap space to sign a veteran leader, and it’s been clear that they’ve been closely monitoring the situation between Harden and the 76ers. It likely will come down to the three-time scoring champ’s desire to receive a big payday, or play for a title contender. Philly doesn’t prefer to sign Harden to a max contract, but rather a shorter-term deal. So essentially, the Rockets could swoop in and bring the star back if he’s more enthused by a fresh start and more money.
Though not a very likely scenario, the Bulls have expressed interest in pursuing Harden when moratorium begins on June 30. The guard/wing setup of DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine and Harden would be tough to slow down. This would give the Bulls a de facto ball-handler to run pick-and-rolls with Nikola Vucevic assuming the big man is re-signed. The defense won’t be good but Chicago’s offense could be enough to make noise in the playoffs.