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James Harden Widely Expected To Re-Sign With 76ers Than Reunite With Rockets

After months of rumors about re-joining the Houston Rockets, James Harden is now likely to re-sign with the 76ers in free agency.

Since Christmas Day, a reunion between James Harden and the Houston Rockets this summer appeared inevitable.

Harden became fond of the Rockets' young team after the Philadelphia 76ers sustained an overtime defeat in Houston on Dec. 5. And given the importance of the 76ers' championship window, post-season success would determine Harden's future in Philadelphia following the 2022-23 season.

Harden intends to decline his $35.6 million option and enter free agency in July. But over the last few days, Harden has become more likely to re-sign with the Sixers, per Zach Lowe.

"The breaks have now been pumped, like slammed on, around the league to the point that I bet if you poll 50 front office executives, the majority of them would guess he's going back to Philly. I don't know what the hell is going to happen. We'll see."

Philadelphia's president of basketball operations, Daryl Morey, said the franchise has had an interest in retaining Harden since their season ended on May 14. Morey served as the Rockets' general manager from 2007 to 2020. He orchestrated the deal that landed the Rockets Harden in 2012, where he spent nine seasons with the franchise.

Harden led the NBA in assists after averaging 10.7 dimes while scoring 21.0 points across 58 games. He helped the 76ers go 54-28 during the 2022-23 season but lost to the Boston Celtics in seven games during the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.

"We are a really good team," Harden said following the 76ers post-season elimination to the Celtics. "We were just a couple shots away from being in the Eastern Conference Finals...I feel like we have a solid team. Every off-season you look to get better, whether with the personnel you have now or just by adding pieces. We will see how this one goes."

You can follow Coty M. Davis on Twitter at @CotyDavis_24

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