NBA powerhouse Eastern Conference Philadelphia 76ers have a huge decision to make this summer as superstar James Harden could hit free agency if he declines his player option.
According to Sam Amick of ‘The Athletic’, Harden could refuse to choose the player’s option and opt for a long-term contract and not necessarily demand the maximum. Amick said:
“When the Sixers got him, their information was that he would potentially be willing to take less. And obviously, you know, nobody knows him better than Daryl (Morey).”
Harden’s player option for next season is worth more than $47 million, but he could turn that down and sign a longer-term deal with the 76ers or any other team. Indeed, he would then be eligible for a maximum deal worth more than $270 million payable over five years.
Harden has suffered injuries that dull his impact on the floor, which the 76ers will be wary of as a new five-year contract will see him until the age of 37. Harden, however, could ease the pressure on the 76ers and help the franchise build a better roster if he takes less than the max.
How important is Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers?
James Harden had a great start to his career with the Philadelphia 76ers. He took to the team like a duck to water.
He gelled perfectly with Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey and put in some really good numbers. However, his form plummeted in the final weeks of the regular season and did not improve in the playoffs either.
One of the greatest scorers the game has seen, Harden was an unstoppable machine during his nine seasons with the Houston Rockets. He was also a great entertainer. The 76ers need the perfect combination of both attributes for their championship aspirations.
What makes Harden great is his ability to be a quintessential playmaker and also a scoring machine who can excel in one-on-one situations. He’s handled the pick and roll incredibly well with Embiid, which might be the 76ers’ biggest offensive weapon this season.
The only question mark for the 76ers is the health of their superstars Embiid and Harden. The Cameroonian is used to being injury-prone while Harden has suffered from hamstring issues a few times in the last couple of years or so. It has a lot to do with his weight and conditioning, though.
The Philadelphia 76ers bet big on Harden, as they gave away arguably the league’s best defenseman (Ben Simmons) and sniper (Seth Curry). Although Harden is a defensive handicap, he has the offensive prowess to overcome that, which is what the 76ers are counting on this season.
Q. Should the 76ers offer the maximum to Harden?
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