Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden has a player option for next season that he has been expected to turn down in order to become a free agent this summer.
Many have expected him to leave Philly and return to the Houston Rockets, the team he has been associated with for much of his NBA career.
However, now there is a feeling that Harden will instead stay with his current team, as noted by analyst Keith Smith.
This has always made the most sense. For Harden, for the Sixers and especially for the Rockets. https://t.co/HGH4aF8pkV
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) June 19, 2023
Harden was traded to the Rockets just prior to the 2012-13 season, and before that, he had been a sixth man with a very promising Oklahoma City Thunder team.
Upon arriving in Houston, he instantly became a star, and after several years there, he started putting up numbers few ever had before, as he averaged over 30 points a game and led the league in scoring three years in a row.
But once the Rockets, who eventually became a title contender, had maxed out their potential, Harden got shipped to the Brooklyn Nets during the 2020-21 season.
A year later, he arrived in Philly.
The Sixers had an excellent team this season that finished with the third-best record in the Eastern Conference, and with Joel Embiid winning his first regular-season MVP award, many thought they had a real shot at winning the world championship.
But they collapsed in the second round of the playoffs, blowing a 3-2 series lead against the Boston Celtics.
Harden played poorly in the last two games of the series, continuing a career-long trend of performing poorly in big playoff games.NEXT: The 76ers Are Adding Another Coach To Their Staff