With the 2023 NBA Offseason around the corner, all eyes will be on if James Harden chooses to stay with the Philadelphia 76ers or if he decides to go reunite with his previous team, the Houston Rockets. If he chooses the latter, that could lead to Joel Embiid wanting out.
Zach Braziller of the New York Post reported that should Harden leave the Sixers for the Rockets, Embiid may request a trade from the Sixers.
‘There have been whispers that Joel Embiid could want out of Philadelphia if free-agent-to-be James Harden goes back to the Rockets as has been rumored,” Braziller said.
He added that even if Embiid does, he still has a few more years left on his contract with the Sixers.
“But Embiid — who was once repped by Knicks president Leon Rose — is under contract for three more seasons.”
What could potentially determine whether or not Harden sticks around could be how the Sixers do in the postseason, which they’ll have their biggest test when they face the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on May 14.
James Harden Criticizes Officials Following Game 6
After the Sixers lost in Game 6, James Harden criticized the officials for not calling fouls on defenders, believing that it took him out of his rhythm.
“Tonight was just frustrating because I’m number one as far as fouls that don’t get called. It’s a fact,” Harden told reporters in the locker room after the game. “So it’s frustrating as a player. So when officiating tells you at halftime, ‘We missed a couple of fouls.’ That right there. There was some missed shots and fouls, which would give me a rhythm to transition points for them.”
Despite his four-for-16 shooting performance, Harden thought he helped the Sixers offensively, though he acknowledged how well the Celtics played defensively in Game 6 as well.
“I’m not gonna look at my shooting percentage,” Harden said. “I did a lot of really good things offensively. Defensively, they did a really good job of like their game plan was to pack the paint. They started two bigs, and they packed the paint. So they forced us to make shots.”
James Harden’s Sixers Departure Seen as ‘Inevitability’
“What I’ve heard in league circles is similar to what many Rockets fans are reading — that James Harden’s return is being treated as an inevitability. Harden has one year remaining on his deal with the 76ers but is expected to opt out and either seek a new deal or sign with the Rockets,” Alexander said.
Alexander added Harden has multiple connections with Houston, including his friendship with Jalen Green.
“Harden is very comfortable in Houston, with a home, restaurant, and all of his favorite haunts. He’s said to have (a) good relationship with Jalen Green (they’re close through both typical basketball events and as faces of Adidas Basketball, where Green regularly wears Harden’s signature shoes).”