NBA Rumors: James Harden "Seriously Considering" Return To Old Team In Free Agency

As James Harden spends his Christmas Day toiling away for the Philadelphia 76ers in Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks, he seemingly has dreams of returning once again to Houston. 

According to NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski, Harden, if he decides against a new deal with Philly as a free agent this summer, is "seriously considering" a return to the scene of his greatest seasons, with the Houston Rockets. 

Harden and his inner circle have been openly weighing Houston in recent months, sources said, a remarkable possibility given that he requested and received a trade out of the franchise less than two years ago.

As Woj notes, how far Harden and Sixers MVP candidate Joel Embiid are able to carry the team into the postseason this year could go a long way toward helping him make his decision. 

"Experiencing a deep playoff run in a rabid, hungry Philadelphia marketplace could positively impact his thinking," writes Wojnarowski, "just as the fallout of an early exit could, too."

Harden signed a 2-year, $68.6M contract with Philly this past offseason, with an opt-out after Year 1. He's averaging 21.4 points (down about 8 points from his Houston days), but also leading the NBA in assists, at 10.9 per game after an incredible 21-assist game Friday night. 

The Rockets are rebuilding with a promising young core—extremely young—and would have to make a decision about how a 34-year-old Harden (for next season) would fit into that plan going forward. 

 Photo: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports