James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers
James Harden #1 of the Philadelphia 76ers in Game Six of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals at Wells Fargo Center on May 12, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images


  • James Harden returning to the Houston Rockets is a notable possibility this offseason
  • Kyrie Irving to Houston could also happen if owner Tilman Fertitta feels the need to expedite the rebuild
  • Sources report that Irving linking up with the Rockets after this season should not be ruled out at all

The Houston Rockets is in the midst of an awe-inspiring youth movement within the team, but despite their focus being on rebuilding, rumors of James Harden and Kyrie Irving joining them have been made public.

Yahoo Sports' Jeff Fischer was the first to break the news about Harden considering a return to Houston sometime soon, citing that it "resurfaced among league personnel during his contract negotiations with Philadelphia this offseason."

But in Fischer's eyes, Harden opting to sign a one-plus-one deal with a $15 million pay cut that allowed the Philadelphia 76ers to sign both P.J. Tucker and Danuel House is indicative of his interest in building a championship contender.

The connection between Harden and the Rockets is considerably strong since that was where "The Beard" became a global figure and saw him transition from a Sixth Man of the Year to MVP levels.

Talking about the Rockets on the latest episode of the Lowe Post podcast, Zach Lowe and Tim MacMahon revealed that Irving's impending free agency in the offseason could see him potentially link up with Harden in Houston.

Lowe first brought up what the free agent market looked like and cited that Irving would be the biggest name available, with MacMahon chiming in that Irving to the Rockets should not be ruled out.

"I wouldn't rule anything out with Kyrie or the Houston Rockets. That's a perfect storm of 'don't rule it out,'" Lowe later added while mentioning names like Jerami Grant, Josh Hart, Myles Turner and Brook Lopez as other potential targets for the rebuilding franchise.

Currently, the Rockets' depth chart has Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green as their starting backcourt with the pair leading the team in points this season at 19.3 and 21.6 respectively, with the former serving as their primary ballhandler with 5.7 assists per game.

Bringing in both Harden and Irving would mean that the Rockets must be comfortable enough to shift one player to the bench and the other learning to adapt to the small forward spot.

It will be a tough ask for Houston to suddenly abandon the youth movement to bring in two ball-dominant guards onto the team. Still, MacMahon noted that owner Tilman Fertitta's patience is "limited."

"This is the third year of what he anticipated and expected to be a three-year rebuild," he added before mentioning that the Rockets' draft luck is not going to improve this season because their top-four protected 2024 pick is due to the Oklahoma City Thunder from the Chris Paul–Russell Westbrook trade.

The Rockets are currently sitting in the basement of the Western Conference with little to no chances of nabbing generational talent Victor Wembanyama in the draft, which may have the front office consider bringing in either or both Harden and Irving.

Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets
Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets poses for a photograph during Media Day at HSS Training Center on September 27, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Emilee Chinn/Getty Images