For a few weeks now, the talk around James Harden has been about where he will play next season. Philadelphia? His preferred destination of the Los Angeles Clippers? A third team that jumps into the picture? What is not in question is his jumping to a new league next season, the CBA prevents it.
However, a few years down the line, Harden might be open to playing a season in China, something he told Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“Every time I come here, the love is just like … it’s crazy, you know what I mean?” he said. “So I feel like they deserve to actually see me come play here. … Love is always crazy here.”
That does not mean Harden will play next season in China as a way to put pressure on 76ers Daryl Morey to trade him. Harden opted into the final year of his deal and is under contract with the 76ers for this season, he cannot sign anywhere. More than that, under the terms of the CBA, a player in the last year of his contract who holds out for more than 30 days is considered to have not fulfilled his contract and can’t sign with any other professional team anywhere in the world (even after the season ends).
Harden will be playing in the NBA next season. Somewhere. But in a few years, could he jump to China for a season if the payday is right compared to his NBA offers? Maybe. A Chinese team might step up and pay big money for him.
It’s James Harden, so anything is possible.