Insider Names James Harden’s ‘Only Logical Option’ in NBA Free Agency

James Harden

Getty James Harden of the Philadelphia 76ers

With the Philadelphia 76ers headed toward the offseason in the next month or so, Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report revealed what James Harden‘s first order of business will be with his player option for next season.

“Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden intends to decline his $35.6 million player option to become an unrestricted free agent this summer in order to secure a long-term deal,” Haynes said.

Haynes then added which team is the logical destination for Harden, knowing what their expectations will be for next season.

“At the moment, the Sixers are the only logical option, coming off a third-place finish in the Eastern Conference in the regular season. But the dynamic in Philadelphia will undoubtedly change next season, considering the Sixers have to find the right coach after dismissing Doc Rivers.”

Haynes then revealed one of the Sixers’ competitors for Harden’s services while also adding what Harden will want on the team he plays for.

“The Houston Rockets have long been a rumored destination, but sources say Harden will only entertain suitors that present a competitive roster and the basketball freedom for the star to be himself,” Haynes said.

James Harden & Doc Rivers ‘Was Never Great’

After Doc Rivers was fired as the Sixers’ head coach, NBA Insider Ramona Shelburne gave a behind-the-scenes look at what went wrong between the two sides. On her appearance on “The Anthony Gargano Show,” Shelburne talked about why Harden and Rivers did not get along.

“The Harden-Doc Rivers thing was never great,” Shelburne said. “There was a lot behind it. There was this team meeting I had heard about where Doc tried to say something about (Harden) going out on the road and how does that look, and how does that look to your teammates. If you’re going to do that, you’ve really got to show up in the game. There was a lot of trying to hold James accountable in certain ways.”

Though Harden and Rivers had their issues, Shelburne added that she did not know if Harden requested for the Sixers to fire Rivers after their Game 7 loss against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Rockets ‘A Very Real Possibility’ For James Harden

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported why the Rockets are a real possibility for Harden this offseason.

“It was a real possibility back on Christmas, and it remains so now that the Sixers are in the offseason that we’re started to head toward July free agency. Houston’s a very real possibility for Philadelphia’s James Harden in free agency. They’ve got upwards of $60 million in cap space. They want to be much better next season,” Wojnarowski said on ESPN’s Get Up on May 15.

Wojnarowski added that Harden has plenty of connections to Houston and that even if the Rockets won the lottery – they didn’t – that would not hinder their pursuit of reuniting with Harden.

“There’s a comfort level in Houston for James Harden. He’s got family there. He’s very comfortable in that environment, and this is an organization where he knows ownership. He knows the front office, and I think regardless for the Rockets of whether or not they won the draft lottery, if they win the lottery tomorrow night here in Chicago, and they’re the ones who can draft Victor Wembayana, my sense is that would not necessarily change the Rockets’ intentions to pursue James Harden.”