The possibility of the Philadelphia 76ers re-signing James Harden is still a realistic one — especially in the wake of Brian Windhorst’s report that all of the Houston Rockets free agent rumors are merely a leverage play on the Sixers guard’s part. Should Harden return to Philadelphia, though, it has become clear the past two postseasons that the Sixers do not have the roster to make a deep postseason run.
To rectify that, CBS Sports’ Sam Quinn came up with a reunion with Jrue Holiday — who was traded by the Sixers to the New Orleans Pelicans in 2013 after his first All-Star season in Philadelphia and has since become an NBA Champion and two-time All-Star with the Milwaukee Bucks — that would only be worth it if Harden re-signed and would also involve Tyrese Maxey.
“Would it be worth calling the Bucks and asking about Jrue Holiday? Milwaukee needs to get younger around Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Maxey could be the half-court shot creator he’ll need for the rest of his prime,” Quinn prefaced before saying, “This is a scenario that makes more sense if Harden stays put.”
Holiday has been an All-NBA Defender for the past three seasons and would boost a Sixers defense that had the No. 8-ranked defensive rating during the 2022-23 season. That mark ranked behind the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, and Bucks in the Eastern Conference.
Jrue Holiday Would Play Off-Ball With Sixers
Quinn explained why playing alongside Harden in a Sixers backcourt would be beneficial for Holiday at this stage of his career, simultaneously giving the guard the chance to retire with the team that drafted him in one last attempt at an NBA Championship.
“Holiday is at his best in an off-ball role, and he has hinted at plans to retire at the end of his current contract in 2025,” Quinn wrote. “He’s an all-in for right now player, and Holiday plus Embiid, with little else, isn’t worth going all-in for.”
With five total appearances on an All-NBA Defensive team along with an NBA title, Holiday may not be far off from an NBA Hall of Fame nod. Should he help get his former team over the hump after years of second-round exits, Holiday’s legacy will be secured in the sport.
Jrue Holiday on James Harden: ‘He’ll Always Be Great’
Back on March 4, Harden dropped 38 points, dished out 10 assists, and grabbed nine rebounds in a 133-130 Sixers win over the Bucks. Holiday, who along with his Milwaukee teammates couldn’t handle Harden, gushed about “The Beard” after the game — saying that the impending free agent “will always be great.”
“He was making plays in the paint, he was getting to the free throw line,” Holiday said (h/t All 76ers’ Justin Grasso). “I mean, it’s James Harden. You know, he’s great player. He’ll always be a great player.”