Former NBA Great Doesn’t Hold Back About Sixers’ James Harden

Philadelphia 76ers, James Harden, NBA News
NBA Analysis Network

There are a lot of people who have offered their opinions on what the Philadelphia 76ers should do long-term with James Harden. Harden could opt out of his contract this NBA offseason, become an unrestricted free agent and be eligible for a five-year deal worth just under $270 million.

That is a lot of money for any player to receive, let alone one that has struggled the way Harden has. Harden’s shooting stroke has continued to fail him with the 76ers as it did with the Brooklyn Nets. There were high hopes for Harden joining up with Joel Embiid, but he has fallen short of those expectations thus far.

Oftentimes in the postseason, Harden has looked sluggish and lethargic on the court. Could we be seeing Harden’s skill set deteriorating before our eyes? After all, he is going to be 33-years old in August and has a lot of wear and tear on his body.

Philadelphia didn’t acquire him from the Nets for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round picks to watch him walk in free agency this offseason should he opt out of his deal. They could negotiate a lower number to save some money and spend it elsewhere on the roster, but it would be shocking if Harden didn’t get a new deal from the 76ers.

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Some people would caution the James 76ers against committing that kind of money to Harden this offseason. One of those people is Amar’e Stoudemire, who shared his feelings during a recent appearance on ESPN’s Get Up.

“I can’t commit to that,” he said of offering James Harden a max deal. “If I’m the owner of the Sixers, I cannot commit to giving him a max deal. I just don’t see the dedication that I would need to see from my top 75 player. You have to be able to have a certain level of determination and focus on being the best player you can possibly be and also be there for your teammates when they need you the most. … If he’s not capable of doing that as a max player, I’m not going to be willing to now give you a max contract if you’re not showing me that you can handle the situation.”

There aren’t many people with more insight into the Harden situation than Stoudemire. Stoudemire was a player development assistant with the Nets during Harden’s time with the team. He had a front-row seat witnessing everything unfold.

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Stoudemire isn’t the first person to question James Harden’s commitment to basketball and likely won’t be the last. That is one of the many things that the Philadelphia 76ers will have to take into consideration this offseason as Harden’s contract has a chance to turn into the worst one in the NBA in a few years.