3 reasons the Rockets must avoid giving James Harden a max contract

Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers - Game Four
Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers - Game Four / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages
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2. Harden's desire to return has nothing to do with basketball

For as much as we've heard about Harden potentially returning to Houston, it's worth noting the reasoning behind Harden wanting to come back to the Space City. For starters, Harden is seeking the opportunity to cash in on getting one final max contract. 

At 33-years-old, Harden knows he won't be getting another max contract in four years when this deal would be up. Granted we certainly can't knock him for wanting to get paid, but he's not exactly seeking a basketball-related reason on the court.

On Sunday, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported during NBA Countdown once again that Harden would welcome a return to Houston. But what got lost in the hoopla was Wojnarowski's explanation for why Harden would be intrigued by the Rockets.

"There are a lot of things that are attractive with Houston for him. It is home, family there, familiarity with the organization & community."

No mention of basketball. The motivation is off-the-court.

Now let's compare that to what ESPN insider Kendrick Perkins, Harden's former teammate, previously stated.

"We know that James Harden loves Houston. Yes, he loves the Rockets organization, but he also loves what Houston brings to the table outside of basketball. And we all know what that is."

Any conversation about the culture that exists within the city of Houston will always resort back to scantily-clad women. And especially as it pertains to Harden, who is known to have an affinity for that lifestyle.

Granted, if you've ever been out past 2 AM roaming in the city of Houston, you've likely frequented one or two strip clubs. And if you've frequented them, you can't blame Harden for enjoying the experience.

And although it's become aggravating for Harden truthers to hear this generalization because it's been over-used at times, the concern does exist. Hell, we just saw Harden in Las Vegas during the opening round of the playoffs, leading one to wonder why he was there in the first place.

And this was much different than seeing Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant partying and turning up in the club, which went viral, as their season was already over. Granted, there's no need to worry about Harden's lifestyle rubbing off on the Rockets' young core, because 21 and 22-year-olds are likely doing the same thing (we've all been there).

One would've liked to have seen Harden grow past this lifestyle by now though. And more importantly, one would have liked to have heard a basketball reason on his behalf regarding why he'd like to return to the Rockets. 

And we haven't quite heard that yet.