Despite being extremely active in the trade and free agent market, the biggest news for the Philadelphia 76ers involves All-Star guard James Harden. After turning down his player option for next season, he is expected to take a $15 million pay cut to give the front office more cap flexibility. Because of this selfless decision, Daryl Morey was able to sign P.J. Tucker and Danuel House Jr. to multi-year deals.
While most have applauded Harden for putting the team over himself, one analyst went a different route. During a recent episode of ‘The Lowe Post‘ podcast, ESPN’s Bobby Marks brought up a scenario where the former MVP leaves Philly because more teams will be able to offer him max money in a year as opposed to now.
We could be looking at 15 teams that have cap space next year, there was four this year. So maybe if you’re James Harden you’re looking at the landscape if Philly doesn’t work out and who knows. There’s certainly a strong relationship there already, where he can go out and get that big contract from a team like maybe the Knicks.
In his first stint with the Sixers, Harden averaged 21.0 PPG, 7.1 RPG, and 10.5 APG. By the time next season begins, the former MVP will be 33-years-old.
Bobby Marks Expects Sixers to be Investigated Over James Harden
When the Sixers acquired James Harden at the trade deadline last year, it was expected that he would opt into his option for this upcoming season. Shortly after the trade, it came out that Harden and his camp did not get the paperwork in on time. Seeing how everything has unfolded since then, Bobby Marks told Zach Lowe he expects the league to investigate the Sixers over this matter.
I was texting with a couple teams and I said ‘what’s the 15 million made up with Fanatics stock?’ and they said maybe… I would think that because of the difference, it’s not five or six million dollars, that the league should look into the Sixers. And Philly can say that he’s doing it out of the charity of his heart because he wants to get the team better, and that’s great, and maybe it is. But if I was the league, I would certainly look into as far as what happened in Philadelphia with this contract.
Following this tangent, Lowe said he reached out to some people around the league to see if the Sixers had been accused of tampering but heard nothing.
ESPN Picks Sixers as Early Winner of Free Agency
As mentioned above, James Harden taking less money opened the door for the Sixers to upgrade their supporting cast. Following the signings of Tucker and House, Doc Rivers now has a pair of three-and-D wings to surround his star duo.
With their flurry of additions this offseason, ESPN’s Kevin Pelton picked the Sixers as an early winner in free agency:
The Philadelphia 76ers, I think a winner so far in free agency. They added the kind of tough-minded. defensive players who can also shoot. Role players that you want around Joel Embiid, James Harden, Tyrese Maxey… And then De’Anthony Melton in a nice trade with the Memphis Grizzlies sending out the 23rd pick in this year’s draft.