ESPN’s Zach Lowe, Tim MacMahon offer more info on James Harden, Rockets

The focus for the Philadelphia 76ers at the moment is looking to bounce back from a loss to the Washington Wizards on Tuesday when they continue their 4-game road trip on Friday against the New Orleans Pelicans.

However, the focus outside of the team remains on the 2023 free-agency period for James Harden. The report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski dropped on Christmas Day that Harden is seriously considering a return to the Houston Rockets in the offseason. A report that Harden addressed after the contest in New York, but it wasn’t a convincing denial.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Tim MacMahon hopped on “The Lowe Post” podcast to discuss Harden’s interest in the Rockets, a place where he spent over eight seasons and had a ton of success (h/t Rockets Wire):

Do the Rockets have interest in bringing Harden back?

MacMahon: The people I talk to in Houston acknowledge “Well, hey, we’d have to have discussions about fit and if it’s the best path, blah blah blah.”

But the simple fact of the matter is, Tilman Fertitta’s patience is limited. This is the third year of what he anticipated and expected to be a three-year rebuild. And, by the way, the benefits of being bad are gone after this year, unless they’re really bad and lucky in the lottery… because next year’s pick [2024] is due to OKC, top-four-protected, from the Chris Paul-Russell Westbrook trade.

Does Harden really want to go back to Houston?

MacMahon: It was interesting to me. When Harden was asked about this after their Christmas Day win, he basically said, Hey, things are going well in Philly, I don’t know where that came from.

He didn’t say, “It ain’t happening.” He didn’t shoot it down. [It was] “I don’t know where that came from, and I didn’t want this out there yet.”

Will both Harden and the Rockets consider it?

MacMahon: I would call it emotional and impatient, but impossible I would not call it.

Lowe: Oh, they’ll consider it. 100 percent.

MacMahon: 100 percent, they will consider it.

Story originally appeared on Sixers Wire