James Harden has finally accepted his role on the Philadelphia 76ers as the secondary star behind MVP candidate, Joel Embiid. ‘The Beard’ averaged over 30 points for the last time during the 2019-20 season and after it was clear that him being the number 1 scoring option wasn’t going to cut it to compete for a title, he took a backseat.
Harden has been racking up assists all season long with the Sixers however, averaging 11.1 a game while Embiid averages 33.2 points per game on close to 53% shooting from the field. With a top tier assists-man and a top tier defensive and offensive big, you would think Philly would be steamrolling through competition.
This, unfortunately for Sixers fans, is not the case. They are currently the 5th seed behind the Cleveland Cavaliers with a 21-14 record. While they show flashes of being a great team, they haven’t reached that next level. This is perhaps why rumors of Harden wanting out are circulating once again.
An anonymous East GM believes James Harden will not be a good leader
Reports stating that James Harden would be very much open to re-joining the Houston Rockets this summer surfaced on Christmas in the midst of a 7-game Sixers win-streak. Harden was asked about this during his postgame availability, to which he said, “Why would you ask me about that on Christmas, man? You didn’t say Merry Christmas or nothing.”
Harden didn’t deny the rumors, all he said towards the end was that he didn’t see anything of the sort. There have no further comments on this front from him or his camp.
An anonymous Eastern Conference General Manager was asked about what it would be like if Harden returned to the Rockets. Would the youngsters like Jabari Smith Jr or Jalen Green respect him enough to be led by him? The GM’s answer was a swift, “Uh, no,” followed by laughter.
Harden is a well-respected veteran in the NBA but the GM may be right in this particular situation. Harden forced his way out of Houston and for him to show up in the midst of the Rockets rebuilding may do more harm than good.
Will James Harden actually leave the Sixers?
James Harden signed a 2 year extension worth $68.6 million this past offseason with the Philadelphia 76ers. He voluntarily took less money so as to have the front office sign whoever they needed in order to compete, leading to the PJ Tucker signing.
It’s far too early to say what Harden will do this summer. It all depends on how the Sixers do in the postseason. At this point in James’s career, a title is all he needs and if the Sixers fall well short of that, he may reconsider his stay in Philly.