5 NBA free agent targets with ties to Houston Rockets' coach Ime Udoka

Houston Rockets v Philadelphia 76ers
Houston Rockets v Philadelphia 76ers / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages
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No. 1 - James Harden

It's no secret that James Harden and the Rockets have been flirting with the idea of a reunion for several months now. According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, Harden is currently torn between joining the Rockets in free agency or returning to the Philadelphia 76ers for another go-round. If he goes with the first option, Harden would reunite with Udoka, who was an assistant with the Brooklyn Nets in 2020-21, which is when the guard arrived via trade.

Adding Harden would undeniably accelerate Houston's rebuild. While there are questions involving how well the guard would gel with the team's young pieces, there's no denying that the former MVP could make an immediate difference with his scoring, facilitating, and leadership. Even if he's not the MVP-caliber player he was when he left Houston, Harden is still an All-Star-level player, and a team looking to take that next step could certainly use one or two of those.

If the Rockets want to add Harden, it will not come cheap. After taking a pay cut with the 76ers last off-season, he's likely looking to earn some of that back. While the Rockets have plenty of money to spend, they reportedly do not want to offer Harden a max contract, per HoopsHype's Michael Scotto. That's an interesting tidbit in what should be a fascinating free agent saga for the 33-year-old guard.