Since being traded to the Rockets in 2012, James Harden has emerged as one of the best basketball players on the planet. Over the past eight years, he has elevated both his performance and that of his team, averaging 29.6 points, 7.7 assists, and 6 rebounds per game on 44% shooting.
Unfortunately, Houston's continual shortcomings have resulted in disaster and, as the former NBA MVP reflects on his future with the franchise, his thoughts have shifted to a new team: the Brooklyn Nets.
Interestingly, according to Kelly Iko and David Aldridge of The Athletic, part of No. 13's desire to join the Nets stems from his opinion of Kevin Durant, a guy who Harden apparently holds in very high regard.
There are obvious ties to both Brooklyn and Philadelphia. Harden loved the years he spent with Durant and the Thunder early on in his career, constantly being called the glue that held the team together, according to a source close to Harden.
In the same article, it also noted how Harden seems to look back favorably on his time with Durant and Westbrook on the Thunder.
During the Rockets’ 2018 trip to the Bahamas prior to training camp, Harden would watch hours of old Thunder games in his room.
Harden played in Oklahoma City from 2009-2012, serving as the sixth man behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Serge Ibaka. During those three years, he only averaged a little over 12 points, but that squad in 2012 reached the NBA Finals, something Harden has yet to replicate in his time with the Rockets.
Clearly, there was something about the Thunder that Thunder team that is still resonating with James today. In Brooklyn, there is a chance they can reunite some of those guys and bring back some of the magic that was never really given a chance in the early 2010s. It's really no wonder why they have been so heavily favored in the chase for Harden and even Serge Ibaka.