Rumors of the potential of Philadelphia 76ers superstar James Harden heading back to his old stomping grounds AKA the Houston Rockets have been around for some time now. Tim McMahon of ESPN, in a recent episode of his Howdy Partners podcast, tackled that idea and said that it’s that possible reunion that has led some to believe that it’s a major reason why the Rockets have yet to pull the trigger on an Eric Gordon trade (h/t ClutchFans).

Tim says it feels like the #Rockets waited too long to trade Eric Gordon, but calls Harden to Houston a “significant” possibility. “Some people I’ve talked to in Houston say, ‘Hey, there’s an understanding that James Harden really enjoys playing with Eric Gordon.'”

Apparently, James Harden loved playing with Gordon during his time with the Rockets. Harden played for the Rockets from 2012 to 2021, while Gordon came to Houston in 2016. Gordon signed a four-year extension deal with Houston in 2019 worth $75.6 million.

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Eric Gordon has a non-guaranteed contract for the 2023-24 NBA season, which means that this could also be his last year with the Rockets. It will only get guaranteed if Gordon either becomes an All-Star or if he plays more than 500 minutes in a season plus an NBA title for Houston, per Spotrac.

Gordon is not considered part of the long-term plan of a young Rockets team, but if he’s a major key to luring James Harden, the former MVP who made Houston a perennial title contender,  back to H-Town, then holding on to him is a gamble the team can play.