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Kendrick Perkins: James Harden’s camp wants him to join Joel Embiid on 76ers next season

James Harden and Joel Embiid in Brooklyn Nets v Philadelphia 76ers

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - FEBRUARY 06: James Harden #13 of the Brooklyn Nets smiles towards Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers during the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center on February 06, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

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James Harden is reportedly frustrated with the Nets and can become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

But what makes the 76ers believe they can get him, especially after he recently chose Brooklyn over Philadelphia?

Kendrick Perkins on “All The Smoke":

Something has to be said. I’m going to tell you straight up. This is real life. This is not rumors. No matter how much he may try to deny it.
Now, James Harden’s camp is telling people in Philly: We want to come play with Embiid next year. This ain’t no lie. This is facts.
I ain’t told anybody this s***. But this is happening in real life.

Perkins, a former teammate of Harden and someone with connections throughout the NBA, might have great insight into the situation. Perkins sounds certain. Or he might just be spreading unfounded gossip. It would be unsurprising if Perkins is inclined to believe chatter that portends problems for Kevin Durant’s and Kyrie Irving’s team in particular.

This could explain Joel Embiid – in the midst of a dominant season that screams to get him more help before the playoffs – remaining so patient with Philadelphia holding onto the non-playing but still-valuable Ben Simmons. Harden is a bona fide star who could provide enough boost in future seasons to outweigh shortchanging this year. An Embiid-Harden combo could be lethal.

76ers president Daryl Morey also has a longstanding relationship with Harden from their time with the Rockets. Morey already tried to pair Embiid and Harden last year. Morey probably needs only a reasonable chance of acquiring Harden to bypass non-star offers for Simmons.

Still, even if Harden’s camp is talking about joining Philadelphia, there’s no guarantee he’ll actually follow through next summer. People close to him could be sharing their own opinions more than his. Even if Harden himself is talking about playing with Embiid on the 76ers, the Nets’ yet-to-be-determined playoff performance could go a long way in influencing his opinion of the Nets as he enters the offseason. There are plenty of other obstacles, too.

But Harden-to-Philadelphia smoke keeps thickening.