This offseason, Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden has been one of the hottest topics of conversation. After turning down a $47 million player option for the betterment of his team, the former MVP is fully committed to winning and silencing his critics.
Dating back to his time in Brooklyn, the narrative around Harden is that he is beginning to lose a step. He is coming off a “down year” in which he posted averages of 22 PPG, 7.7 RPG, and 10.3 APG. Harden has not shied away from the fact that previous hamstring injuries bothered him last season, but the All-Star guard vowed to come back this season 100% healthy.
All the work Harden has put in this summer has begun to turn some heads. During a recent appearance on ESPN, insider Bobby Marks was very adamant about the Sixers star having a bounce-back year in 2023. He even went as far as to say that Harden will be in the MVP conversation by the end of the regular season.
“I think we’re going to be talking about James Harden in the top three when we talk about MVP conversation,” said Marks. “[The Sixers] are going to the conference finals, I have them and Boston in the conference finals. I think this is a redemption year, I think the contract year for Harden because of that player option. I think you’re gonna run into a situation where when you add P.J. Tucker and Danuel House, all of it is gonna be dependent on Joel Embiid’s health of course, but I think we’re going to see the Houston version of James Harden in Philadelphia.”
In his short stretch with the Sixers last season, Harden averaged 21 PPG, 7.1 RPG, and 10.5 APG.
Kevin Durant Looking to Reunite With James Harden on Sixers
One of the other big names in the NBA this offseason is Kevin Durant. Despite having four years left on his contract, the two-time Finals MVP has requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets. Recent reports have indicated that Durant listed the Sixers as a desired landing spot.
Following this breaking news, Sixers fans instantly began connecting all the dots. The most obvious being Harden, who played alongside Durant in Brooklyn and OKC. ESPN’s Frank Isola also reported that Durant would like to reunite with the All-Star guard once again.
“It’s hard to follow at times but yes Kevin Durant would like to play with James Harden, who was in London with Durant around the time Durant met with Nets ownership,” he Tweeted.
James Harden Putting in Work at Open Runs
Similar to his backcourt partner Tyrese Maxey, James Harden has been working diligently in preparation for this season. There have been multiple videos of him taking the court in open runs to get in some live reps. In some of the latest footage, Harden was seen lighting up defenders with his patented step-back jumper.
One of the notable appearances in these videos is Sixers big man Charles Bassey. Harden appears to be working on his chemistry with the young prospect as he will be in the mix competing to be Joel Embiid’s backup moving forward.