At least, Stoudemire said if he were the Sixers, he sure would avoid it.
“I can’t commit to that,” he said on ESPN. “If I’m the owner of the Sixers, I cannot commit to giving him a max deal. I just don’t see the dedication that I would need to see from my top 75 player. You have to be able to have a certain level of determination and focus on being the best player you can possibly be and also be there for your teammates when they need you the most.”
Harden, of course, was traded from the Nets to the 76ers in the Ben Simmons deal ahead of the February trade deadline. He has been really good at times, just OK at others. In the eyes of Stoudemire, that’s not worthy of max-level money.
“If he’s not capable of doing that as a max player, I’m not going to be willing to now give you a max contract if you’re not showing me that you can handle the situation,” Stoudemire said.
Harden, 32, averaged 21.0 points, 10.5 assists and 7.1 rebounds in 21 regular-season games with the 76ers. Word is, he intends to opt out of his deal this summer to seek a a max contract.
One thing he has working in his favor is his tight bond with Sixers chief of basketball operations Daryl Morey, as the two were together with the Rockets. It seems highly unlikely that Morey will not want Harden back.