Looks like there won’t be any reunion for James Harden in Houston.
Recent reports suggest that James Harden, the All-Star guard for the Philadelphia 76ers, is interested in returning to his former team, the Houston Rockets.
However, a new report indicates that the Rockets have no plans to explore this option.
Last week, Harden exercised his $35.6 million player option for the 2023-24 season, which was seen as a way to facilitate a trade by the 76ers. Harden was acquired by the 76ers in a major trade last year that sent Ben Simmons to the Brooklyn Nets.
A league source, speaking to Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com, revealed that new Rockets head coach Ime Udoka is not interested in working with Harden.
The source stated that while the Rockets initially considered bringing back the future Hall of Famer, Udoka made it clear that this was not going to happen. The Rockets have already made a significant move in free agency by signing Fred VanVleet, formerly of the Toronto Raptors, to a three-year contract worth $130 million.
“From everything we’ve gotten out of there, it was a matter that Ime didn’t want him. At the beginning, were they thinking about Harden? Yeah. But then they hired Ime, and Ime said, ‘It’s not going to work here.’”
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— Steve Bulpett (@SteveBHoop) July 7, 2023
VanVleet, who is five years younger than Harden, is seen as an indicator that Houston is not interested in reuniting with Harden. Last season, Harden averaged 21 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 10.7 assists per game for the 76ers.
Although the team reached the Eastern Conference Semifinals, they were eliminated by the Boston Celtics in a seven-game series.
The disappointing playoff performance led to the firing of head coach Doc Rivers, who has been replaced by former Raptors head coach Nick Nurse.