Report Reveals How James Harden Mistakenly Killed His Rockets Reunion

James Harden had the option to become a free agent this summer, and the talk for months was that he was very much interested in returning to Houston, "the city that understood him." But then he went into his Rockets meetings and boasted about how he wanted to get back to winning scoring titles in Houston, which basically killed his chance to return there. 

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith says that new Rockets head coach Ime Udoka was not interested in having that kind of selfish player on his team. 

"The Houston Rockets were talking to Harden, thinking about bringing him back after Ime Udoka was brought in," said Stephen A. "James Harden actually talked himself out of a max deal, because he went in there talking about how he wanted to return to being that scoring champion. And Ukoda and them were like, 'nah, we ain't trying to have that here, we building something a little bit different.' 

"He talked himself out of his own max deal."

Harden won 3 scoring titles in his 9-year run in H-Town, topping the 30 points per game mark each time. But they only made it as far as the Conference finals once during that scoring title run, and twice in his 9 All-Star seasons there. 

After the Rockets put the kibosh on any Harden contract, and interest elsewhere around the league was tepid this summer, he was forced to pick up the option year on his deal with the Philadelphia 76ers at $36M, while then demanding a trade. 

No trade is imminent, and Harden has finally shown up at Sixers camp after staying away from Media Day.

 Photo: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports