A dark horse suitor for James Harden has quietly emerged amid rumors about whether he and the Philadelphia 76ers will be able to get a deal done.
Coming into the NBA offseason, speculation was running rampant that Harden may return to the Houston Rockets. The logic certainly made sense.
That said, as the days have passed, the tide has increasingly turned in Philly’s favor. So much so, in fact, that the Rockets have started drawing up a “Plan B” for that particular scenario.
As it turns out, however, the 76ers and Rockets aren’t the only teams to watch for Harden.
According to Kelly Iko of The Athletic, a dark horse suitor for Harden’s services looms in the background.
The IkoSystem — Rockets Free Agency Preview https://t.co/dL2cgzWr5T
— Kelly Iko (@KellyIko) June 28, 2023
“From James’ perspective,” he said, “there were always a few options. Phoenix was always an option. Another team that I’ve heard recently that is a dark horse… is actually the Los Angeles Clippers.”
That being said, while Harden certain makes sense for L.A. from the perspective of them desperately needing an offensive-minded playmaker, the Sixers still feel like the frontrunners for his services.
ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst recently said as much.
“I think James Harden is going to remain a Sixer, but that doesn’t mean that there’s not some question marks surrounding how it’s going to play out.”
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) June 27, 2023
“I think James Harden is going to remain a Sixer, but that doesn’t mean that there’s not some question marks surrounding how it’s going to play out,” Windhorst said.
The Rockets have made it clear why they want Harden, but it appears as though Philly throwing Doc Rivers overboard will be enough to retain him.
Trevor and Marissa had themselves a boat party. https://t.co/0kzP7vY621
— Game 7 (@game7__) June 29, 2023
And even if it isn’t, Houston faces tough opposition from the Clippers for Harden’s services.
Where will Harden ultimately be playing come the beginning of the 2023-24 NBA season? One way or another, an answer will emerge soon enough.