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NBA

James Harden set to sign an extension with the Philadelphia 76ers

With what seems to be shared interests between the two parties, the point guard and his team may yet find success if they agree on the details.

Update:
James Harden con los 76ers
Anadolu AgencyGetty

With speculation about his future intensifying over the last few weeks, it now seems the one time league MVP is staying put.

76ers’ James Harden set for contract extension

According to reports, the seemingly out of favor James Harden won’t be leaving the franchise this offseason after all. Harden who is now 32, has a $47 million player option for next season that he may just pick up and more importantly he’s up for a mammoth max extension. Said extension is believed to be either four of five years, hinging of course on what he does with his option. With that said it is understood that compromise has been made on both sides, with Harden expected to pick up his option before putting pen to paper on a deal that is shorter in time.

How did James Harden get here?

There were always rumblings of discontent when the Sixers traded Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and a pair of picks to acquire Harden from the Brooklyn Nets back in February. One could even say that from that point on Harden was under the microscope. Ultimately, the point guard played 21 games for the team during the regular season as well as the 12 that they competed in during the post season. Harden faced criticism from both fans and teammates alike during the campaign, including Sixers star Joel Embiid himself who openly criticized Harden.

Where do the Sixers stand on James Harden?

If there is one thing we can take away from the scenario it’s that the Sixers are not keen on the idea of offering a max extension of four years to Harden even if he chose to decline his previously mentioned player option. Considering that fact, a short term two year extension for example would offer both the player and the franchise more freedom for their respective long term goals. Regardless, none of this is really a surprise. One will recall that just after Philly’s season came to an end, Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey was adamant that the intention was to keep Harden.

76ers President of Basketball Operations, Daryl Morey sits beside point guard James Harden during a recent press conference.
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76ers President of Basketball Operations, Daryl Morey sits beside point guard James Harden during a recent press conference.Tim NwachukwuAFP

“That’s the plan is to have him back. That’s been the plan since the trade,” Morey said. “Obviously, we have to work with his representation and that’ll be between us to figure out how that works. ...He’s an incredibly talented player just like Joel [Embiid], just like Tobias [Harris], and I’m excited for Doc [Rivers] and his staff to have a whole offseason, work with the players, and come up with the best plan for the roster.

What does James Harden have to say?

With what seems to be an alignment of common interests, the Sixers and Harden may well be on to something that reaps benefits. On the one side the franchise is all to aware as is everyone else, that James Harden can still play ball. On the other we have a player who knows all to well that his best chance at making a run for an NBA championship ring, lies in his ability to show what he’s still got before the wear and tear of age truly takes hold. While some may have doubts, Harden’s commitment can’t be questioned. Asked if he’d accept a reduced salary in order to help the team build, Harden was clear: “Whatever it takes to help this team continue to grow, and put us up there with the best of them. ...We’re trying to win a championship. That’s the goal. Whatever that looks like.