After his Rockets defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday to keep their playoff hopes alive, James Harden’s name was thrown around for an abundance of reasons. Much was for his clutch 41-point performance, and much was due to reports indicating that he will try to recruit former teammate and friend Kevin Durant this summer after he is set to become a free agent.
With the NBA’s salary cap skyrocketing from television deals and the new collective bargaining agreement, teams will attempt to lure one of the league’s top players to trust what they have to offer. If he doesn’t stay in Oklahoma City, many have speculated that Durant will take his talents anywhere from his hometown of Washington to play for the Wizards or out west to link with the Lakers. Now, Harden’s Rockets are in the mix.
The team likely won’t restructure center Dwight Howard’s contract, leaving even more cap space for them to make a run at the former league MVP. In an attempt to land Durant, the Rockets want to use Harden’s relationship with him to convince him that he has a good chance of winning his first ring there.
The team will also use the no state income tax advantage to attract Durant, adding on to the amount of money he will make in addition to his endorsement deals with Sonic, Nike, Gatorade, and Sprint, as well as his $300 million contract with Nike.
This summer will be an eventful one for Durant. James Harden and Houston just made it more compelling.