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James Harden likely to remain with 76ers on short-term contract extension

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James Harden likely to remain with 76ers on short-term contract extension
USA Today Network

Philadelphia 76ers point guard James Harden is expected to sign a short-term contract extension with the team. Harden plans to remain with the Sixers, but how long will he stay? Per Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, the 76ers organization want a shorter-term deal, not a maximum contract for the guard. “All signs point toward All-Star guard James Harden returning to the Philadelphia 76ers on a shorter-term contract extension,” explains Fischer.

“Harden and Sixers leadership are aligned on one clear directive, sources said. The franchise’s best opportunity to compete for a championship starring Joel Embiid, as well as Harden’s optimal opportunity to earn his first ring, resides with Harden playing in Philadelphia for the foreseeable future.”

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Furthermore, if fans remember back in January, Harden told Nets ownership that he was committed to working hard and practicing with the team. Of course, then Nets G.M. Sean Marks decided to trade the three-time scoring champion and Paul Millsap to the 76ers before the trade deadline. So, this contract extension could be meaningless in the coming months. Loyalty is nonexistent.

Anyway, since 76ers G.M. Elton Brand is refusing to offer Harden a maximum deal, this news is the best indication that Brand is testing the 10-time All-Star. The 13-year veteran hasn’t averaged 30 points per game since his years spent with the Rockets. In a total of 65 games played in the 2021-22 season, the guard averaged 22 points, 7.7 rebounds and 10.3 assists per game.

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James Harden should stay with the 76ers

Make no mistake, Harden finished 27th in the league for points per game at the end of the regular season. He is still a fine contributor offensively. Needless to say, teammate Joel Embiid was the league’s scoring champion, averaging 30.6 points per game in 68 games played.

On Feb. 27, Harden recorded his first triple-double with the 76ers. He amassed 29 points, 10 rebounds and 16 assists in the Sixers’ 125-109 win over the Knicks.

Additionally, there is a question that needs to be asked. Is Harden worth $46.872 million for the 2022-23 season? That’s his player option for next season. Based on the stats above and his age, he’s overpaid. The guard turns 33 in August, and his performance has declined.

So, it’s in his own best interest to opt in. He has until June 29 to make that decision. Not all the other teams would offer him the same amount if he were to explore his options during free agency. If he can average 25 points per game next season, his trade value will increase.

Not to mention, he’s already in a good spot if he is serious about staying. The Sixers finished 51-31 (.622) in the regular season, ranking fourth overall in the Eastern Conference. If he wants to win a ring — unless the Heat or Celtics are interested — he’s better off remaining with the 76ers.

A Doc Rivers-coached team has not made the NBA Finals since 2010. However, the 76ers are definitely a superior team with James Harden than they were with Ben Simmons. The Sixers can also take full advantage of their draft picks for this year’s upcoming draft.

According to Basketball-Reference, the guard has a hall of fame probability of 100%. But it should go without saying that a ring would only add to his NBA legacy.

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James is a Basketball Insiders contributor. He earned his bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. James enjoys watching sports and helping gamblers win money.

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