Rumors about free agency are already in full swing because why not? In the NBA, buzz about player movement is a year-long soap opera, even with the Denver Nuggets pummelling the Miami Heat and now on the verge of winning their first championship in franchise history.
In all seriousness, most of the current news are obviously understandable, like this one since it’s about former NBA MVP James Harden.
Whatever you think of the man, he is a multifaceted offensive weapon that can break defenses down, shoot the lights out, score in bunches, and be an elite-level facilitator – we can go as far as naming him as one of the best scorers the league has ever seen. Simply put, he’s a big name with big-time talent, and he’ll be the talk of the town wherever he goes.
‘The Beard’ is a Philadelphia 76er for the time being, and he may have some refreshed feelings for the team since Doc Rivers, who is just “Okay” with him, has been replaced with another champion coach, Nick Nurse, so a return isn’t ruled out. However, it’s also clear that he’s thinking about other teams. In fact, the murmurs started in the middle of the season:
It’s surprising to see him consider the Houston Rockets. While there’s familiarity location-wise since it’s his old stomping grounds, the team is young and still deep in rebuild mode. Such is not ideal for someone who’s in his mid-30s and supposedly hungry for that first championship.
Maybe H-Town’s night life is that good?
Also included in the rumour mill are the Phoenix Suns, which is just as surprising because you’d think there’s weird energy between him and former teammate Kevin Durant after their partnership in Brooklyn abruptly ended.
But maybe it has been resolved? Also, with Chris Paul likely to move on from Phoenix, maybe Durant and Harden couldn’t dismiss yet another superstar collusion? They’ll have a three-headed monster of offense alongside Devin Booker, and it’ll be points galore every game.
Of course, NBA prophet Kendrick Perkins has also predicated that Harden will end up in a Lakers uniform.
Now, let’s address the craziness of seeing Harden in yet another different uniform.
The 33-year-old (34 in two months) has had a whirlwind couple of years, filled with sudden or controversial departures. He has only spent 1.5 seasons Philadelphia thus far, and he was only a Brooklyn Net for two half seasons before that. Then, if we rewind it back more, note that he left the Rockets after months of requesting a trade. So, in summary, that’s two trades, three teams, and possibly three team exits in less than three years, beginning in January 2021.
All that are topped off by playoff shortcomings. In the 2021 postseason against the Milwaukee Bucks, while in a much-hyped trio with Durant and Kyrie Irving, he couldn’t do much scoring after returning from a hamstring injury, only averaging 14.0 points per game on a horrendous 30.6% shooting in the series’ last three games (they lost, 4-3). Then, as a Sixer in the 2022 playoffs, he laid an egg in Games 4 and 5 of their series opposite the Miami Heat, posting 12.5 PPG with a 40.9% clip – so much from being the ultimate replacement for the offensively-inept Ben Simmons (they lost, 4-2). Finally, just last month against the Boston Celtics, he showcased frustrating inconsistency, as he had two games with 40 or more points, four with 17 or less, and a Game 7 dud that had him shoot 3-for-11 for nine points (they lost, 4-3).
You get the point. It’s one postseason disappointment after another, which was preceded by a good, productive regular season. One can only imagine how much he drives his teams and the fans insane.
Whichever he goes, we’ll witness a healthy amount of points and assists, but we’ll have to ponder for months if he can finally do it consistently come playoff time.