The Philadelphia 76ers are ‘more optimistic’ about James Harden returning to the team next season

76ers James Harden (left foot soreness) questionable vs Timberwolves

After having a 3-2 lead in the Conference Semi-finals, the 76ers failed to win that series. It was another disappointing end to Philly’s season. Rumors of James Harden leaving the team date back to December 2022. It’s been said that Harden is “torn” on his decision to stay in Philly or return to Houston. Recent reports say that the Sixers are “more optimistic” about Harden returning to the team next season. 

A major factor that has played into Hardeb wanting to stay in Philly was Doc Rivers being fired, The 10-time all-star didn’t have the greatest relationship with his former head coach. Since the firing, Rivers had been vocal that Harden was difficult to work with at times.

Now, former Raptors head coach Nick Nurse is the top dog in Philly. Despite reports of Harden and the Rockets having “mutual interest”, Philly remains optimistic that he will stay.

The 76ers remain optimistic that James Harden will return for the 2023-24 season

New reports say that the “mutual interest” between the Rockets and Harden might not have been true. Sources say that Harden’s camp was using this as leverage to get him as big a contract offer as possible. With this, the Sixers are “more optimistic” he will re-sign with the team this offseason.

Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer said Harden is “giving renewed consideration to staying put”. For Harden and the 76ers, this seems to be the best option moving forward. With their current roster, Philly still has the potential to be a championship contender. Without James Harden, that is not the case.

The major roadblock in this whole situation is the money. Harden will be 33 heading into next season and he knows this could be the last big-time contract of his career. It’s been well-documented that he wants a max-contract extension, but Philly has been hesitant to give him one. Joel Embiid needs Harden’s playmaking and basketball IQ alongside him if the Sixers are serious about winning a championship.