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REPORT: James Harden linked to Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets

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Just a day after his season ended, rumors are already swirling on where former Arizona State and current Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden will land this offseason. As of this morning, two teams have already been reportedly linked to Harden by Sirius XM NBA Radio host Brian Geltzeiler: the Houston Rockets and Phoenix Suns.

These two teams are currently the betting favorites to land Harden on DraftKings (Houston at +105 and Phoenix at +425).

Harden can decline his player option for the 2023-24 season with the 76ers, following their failure to achieve their championship aspirations. Rather than committing to a long-term contract last offseason, Harden signed a team-friendly deal worth $68.6 million over two years, including a player option for the second year. His intention was to give the 76ers a better chance at winning a championship.

After a disappointing end to the season, it appears the bridges have been burned between Harden and the 76ers.

A return to Houston has been a likely destination for Harden for a while. Harden played with the Rockets from 2012 to 2021, becoming one of the best players in franchise history, averaging 29.6 points, 7.7 assists and 6.0 rebounds in 621 games for them and winning MVP in 2018. His tenure came to an abrupt end in 2021 after Harden demanded a trade, and his wish was granted, as he joined the Nets alongside the likes of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.

Now, Harden could reportedly team up with Kevin Durant once again, this time in the Valley, a place where Harden was the best player ever to lace them up for the Sun Devils. The Suns would have to make some moves to free up cap space to sign Harden, as they are due to pay Durant, Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton over $30 million each next season.

Signing the 33-year-old Harden would mean probably having to move on from both Ayton and Paul by trading them. Given how Harden and Durant’s time on the Nets played out and how Harden played in the postseason, most Suns fans aren’t thrilled of the idea of him coming to Phoenix.

However, some like the idea of him coming to the Suns.

Harden will be one of the top free agents this offseason, and there will be plenty of storylines wherever he signs.

ASU’s James Harden, 76ers fall in Game 7 of Eastern Conference Semifinals, questions of his future loom

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Brendan Mau is a college sports insider and general assignment reporter for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on Twitter via @Brendan_Mau

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