Daryl Morey could seek James Harden reunion with 76ers

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Daryl Morey is trying to get the band back together.

The former Rockets general manager is now the president of the 76ers and is expected to pursue Houston star James Harden, Stadium reported on Tuesday. The challenge, of course, is that Harden is under contract with the Rockets through 2023.

“As of right now, it is an emphatic no from the Rockets side,” Stadium’s Shams Charania said. “It’s really a non-starter for that organization. Daryl Morey, though, has a history of being active on the trade market, pursuing the different opportunities that may exist out there and I wouldn’t expect it to be any different now that he’s in Philadelphia.”

Morey brought Harden to Houston in a 2012 trade with the Thunder, with the Rockets sending back Jeremy Lamb, Kevin Martin, two first-round picks and a second-round pick. Harden went from Sixth Man of the Year to perennial All-Star and the NBA’s MVP in 2017-18, leading the league in scoring in each of the last three years.

The 31-year-old Harden, who has a player option for the 2022-2023 season, just finished the first year of a four-year, $171 million extension that Morey signed him to in 2017.

With the 76ers, Morey inherits a team with two stars in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, though they struggled last season with a first-round playoff exit.

“I absolutely think they can work together,” Morey told reporters Monday in his first press conference with the 76ers.

“My goal is to win a championship, so whatever gets us there is what we’ll do,” he added. “But I would say to have two star-plus players in 24 and 26 years old, that is why I couldn’t get Doc Rivers to come interview in Houston. He saw this roster and he said, ‘It’s amazing,’ and ‘Sorry I couldn’t fly to Houston to meet with you, Daryl.’ And then, obviously, I end up here a couple weeks later. … It was pretty cool.”

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