James Harden and the Philadelphia 76ers have recently experienced one of the most embarrassing conclusion to their season as the Boston Celtics dominated Game 7 of their semi-finals series. Following their loss, a rumor has emerged that The Beard isn’t willing to play for head coach Doc Rivers again.
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported this rumor about the All-NBA talent not being pleased with Rivers’ coaching style. Additionally, this could potentially hint to the previous discussions of Harden wanting to go back to play for the Houston Rockets, where he was able to thrive and win an MVP.
The Sixers have to decide which person they’re willing to keep moving forward. Harden has been a great fit for Embiid, but isn’t a big fan of Rivers’ coaching style.
“They have to start with the decision, do you want to move forward with James Harden and Joel Embiid as your pairing? Is this your superstar pair moving forward? Because James [Harden] can become a free agent, which means that you have to decide if you want to give him a four-year contract, you want to lock this in for the next four years.” Shelburne said.
“That decision, from what I understand, talking to people around the [Boston] Celtics also now becomes tied to the decision about Doc Rivers. Because Harden was not all that supportive of Doc Rivers in his press conference yesterday.”
“Behind the scenes, from what I’m told, one person said to me it would be hard for me to see James wanting to come back and play for Doc again. This is gonna be a situation where those two decisions are linked.”
The 2022-23 campaign is the first full season of Harden being coached by Rivers. During that span, he was able to lead the league in assists and help Embiid carry Philly to the postseason.
You might also be interested in reading this: “I haven’t even thought about it”: James Harden on his future after devastating NBA Playoffs loss against Celtics
James Harden could potentially make a return to the Rockets
Even after James Harden signed a two-year deal with the Sixers, rumors emerged that he could make a comeback to Houston. In the upcoming offseason, the ten-time All-Star has a player option he can choose to opt out of and be a free agent. In that regard, teams like the Rockets could have a chance at signing him.
Harden spent nine seasons in Houston as their franchise star and led the team to significant heights. During the 2017-18 season, The Beard won his first MVP award and led the Rockets all the way to the Western Conference Finals but lost to the Golden State Warriors in seven games.
Also read: “We knew he was gonna turn around” – James Harden and the Sixers knew Tyrese Maxey was gonna have a big game