Philadelphia 76ers’ Plan For James Harden Emerges

Philadelphia 76ers’ Plan For James Harden Emerges

The Philadelphia 76ers acquired James Harden this past season in a massive blockbuster trade that sent Ben Simmons to the Brooklyn Nets.

At the time, many regarded the swap as either a win-win or lose-lose.

Folks in the latter camp believed that Harden was washed and that Simmons was a headcase, meaning neither squad would benefit from the transaction. People in the former group felt like both men were demanding a trade anyway, so the fact that Philly and Brooklyn emerged with superstars after having their hands forced was a win in itself.

One essential element that had to come true for that “win-win” camp to be correct was Harden remaining with Philly. He has a player option for 2022-23 and is set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

During a recent podcast appearance on The Void, NBA insider Kevin O’Connor revealed what the Sixers’ plan for Harden is going forward.

“I’ve been told that ownership wants him to opt into the $46.9 million deal for the 22-23 season, which is no surprise,” O’Connor said. “I’ve been told Morey he wants that to be a three-year deal.”

Harden came to Philadelphia with a ton of hype, but ultimately he proved to be extremely underwhelming next to MVP-caliber play from Joel Embiid. He averaged a mere 18.6 points per game in the playoffs – his lowest mark in a decade. Beyond that, he just looked lethargic, uninterested and poorly conditioned.

Off the court, Harden seemed to clash with head coach Doc Rivers repeatedly and wasn’t exactly the best influence on his young teammates.

It’s also hard to ignore that, no matter where he goes, by the time he leaves all the people who were around him seem to end up hating him.

Harden has until June 29 to pick up his player option for next year.

At this point, him returning to Philly for 2022-23 is a foregone conclusion.

What happens after that, though? Particularly if the Sixers underwhelm again next season?

That will be something to keep an eye on.

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Charles Kruger

Charles Kruger has been credentialed to cover two Super Bowls, four NBA Finals, and one World Series. A 20-year veteran in the sports world, he has sources spanning the NBA, MLB, NFL, UFC and NASCAR. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Calif., he is Game 7's go-to source for rumors surrounding the Lakers, Clippers and Dodgers.
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