James Harden plans on staying with the Philadelphia 76ers, despite a playoff disappointment and his contract opt-out.
It helps that Harden can make over $47 million next season, though the 76ers will likely try to persuade him to take a more nuanced extension. Should Harden opt in to that year, it’ll be a contract season for him, thus not guaranteeing his future in Philly beyond 2022-23.
Harden didn’t look like his former self — the Houston Rockets James Harden that Philly likely thought they were acquiring — during his tenure in Philly. Perhaps some of that was due to injury, age or even a lack of keeping himself in shape.
Whatever the case may be, for Philadelphia to reach their ultimate goal with this core, they likely need Harden to work with them on a creative extension, and then get in so-called ‘best shape of his life’, because the way he looked come the end of the postseason wasn’t good enough to be a ‘second star’ on a championship team.
James Harden contract: Will 76ers star opt in?
If Harden is finally comfortable enough to prioritize his financial future over his team flexibility, then he should work on a long-term deal. If he does opt in to that $47 million in 2022, any extension would be put on the back-burner. And the way his career is trending at this juncture, that’s not a smart move.
Harden took just two shots in the second half of Game 6. Houston James Harden was nowhere to be found, despite putting up a respectable 11 points in the first half. He missed both of those shot attempts, and Miami continued to target him on the defensive end of the floor.
The Heat series was an utter disaster for the 76ers and Harden, who without Embiid for the first two games were forced to rely on a player aging in dog years.