Harden and the Sixers are aligned that him pairing with Joel Embiid gives both Harden and the team their best shot at winning a title. In the meantime, as we relayed earlier, the Sixers are said to be exploring the trade market, and dangling the likes of Tobias Harris and Matisse Thybulle, among others.
Per Fischer, the 76ers have been reluctant to give Harden the full four-year maximum deal, or a five-year deal for which he’d be eligible if he were to opt out.
As for Harden specifically, Fischer wrote: “There has also been plenty of talk among league personnel of Harden potentially taking less than his maximum salary to amplify Philadelphia’s efforts to build a championship-contending rotation around Harden and Embiid.”
Following the Sixers’ elimination in the second round of the playoffs, Harden made it clear he had no intentions of leaving.
Harden indicated as much following the season-ending loss to the Heat in the Eastern Conference playoffs on Thursday.
“I’ll be here,” he told reporters.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst soon followed by indicating the Sixers did not intend to offer Harden a max deal.
“Nobody in the NBA believes that the Sixers are going to give James Harden a max contract,” Windhorst said on Get Up.
Harden will turn 33 years old in August. He averaged 21.0 points, 10.5 assists and 7.1 rebounds in 21 games with the Sixers, following the Ben Simmons trade with the Nets in February. He averaged 18.6 points in 12 games against the Raptors and Heat in the East playoffs.