As of late, the James Harden saga in Houston has quieted down. That was until Tuesday night. After the Rockets' superstar guard demanded a trade months ago, Houston resisted the idea for a while. Although they've reportedly shown a willingness to talk shop with teams to get a deal done, the Rockets want their trade partner to sell the farm for Harden.
The Philadelphia 76ers and the Brooklyn Nets are among several teams who have shown interest in Harden. According to many reports, Harden is open to joining both teams as the Nets have his former teammate Kevin Durant, and the Sixers are run by former Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey.
If either team wants Harden, they have to cough up a superstar. For the Nets, Durant and Kyrie Irving are off the table. In Philly, Morey claims Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are as well, though there have been reports that Simmons was included in some hypothetical talks between Houston and Philly.
For the last couple of months, Harden reportedly pushed hard for a trade to Brooklyn. At this point, it seems he is beginning to move on from that pipe dream. Now, Harden has most of his focus on Philadelphia, according to ESPN's Stephen A. Smith.
"The bottom line is: James Harden wants out. He wants out by any means necessary. He wants to go to Philly from what I'm being told -- even more so than Brooklyn. Obviously, Daryl Morey would have something to do about that."
Smith's report comes less than 24 hours after Harden once again makes it painfully obvious that he's checked out in Houston. "I love this city," Harden said after a Rockets loss on Tuesday. "I literally have done everything that I can. I mean, this situation is crazy. It's something that I don't think can be fixed."
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Rockets' price tag for Harden "remains steep," which hasn't helped Harden so far this season. As the veteran guard continues showing an unwillingness to try and salvage his relationship with the organization, the Rockets will soon have no choice but to lower the price tag as they lose leverage each passing day.
Whether Daryl Morey and the Sixers will pounce or not remains a big question mark. While Morey clearly loves Harden -- it will all come down to whether he believes it's time for the Sixers to move on from Ben Simmons or not as the two-time All-Star is who the Rockets are gunning for.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_