Unless you've been under a rock, you likely know that the Houston Rockets are interested in reuniting with James Harden. Every major reporter has seemingly reported that the two parties could be on the cusp of reconvening.
It's well known that the Rockets want to spin the block and circle back to their former lover. Much of the speculation has centered around Houston wanting Harden back, but we haven't heard as much about whether Harden has the same interest, and we know it takes two to tango.
In fact, the latest we've heard on the Harden front is that he could potentially be interested in another partner, the Phoenix Suns.
The easiest path for Harden and the Suns would be for Uno to opt into the final year of his two-year deal (one-plus-one for $68.6 million to be exact) and accept a trade to The Desert. Doing so would limit Harden's 2023-24 earnings to just $35.6 million, a number significantly lower than what the Rockets, who are slated to lead the league in cap space, could offer.
How the Suns can save the Rockets from making a drastic mistake
With $60 million in cap room at their disposal and a burning desire to return to relevancy, the Rockets could very well give Harden the full max, out of desperation.
The Suns, on the other hand, would allow him to reunite with his former partner Kevin Durant and concoct a Big Three of Harden, Durant, and Devin Booker. And you can be sure that Durant and Booker would be open to playing alongside Harden, otherwise this report wouldn't have even gotten out.
The Suns would have to find a taker for Chris Paul, who they are reportedly open to shopping, and possibly even Deandre Ayton, the latter of which shouldn't be too difficult.
Then there's always the possibility that Harden is utilizing phantom interest in other teams to get the Philadelphia 76ers to pony up and give him a max deal, which he surely wants from them after taking a paycut for them just one year ago, to help them add P.J. Tucker, Danuel House, and De'Anthony Melton.
This could also prompt Harden to seek a full max this offseason, seeking the opportunity to recover what he lost last offseason.
But if he does have legitimate interest in the Suns, it could prevent the Rockets from throwing a max contract at Harden, valued at $201 million over four years. In this case, the Suns could save them Rockets from making a disaster of a move.