On the May 24 episode of “Pardon the Interruption,” NBA Insider Brian Windhorst revealed that the Philadelphia 76ers are hesitant to pay James Harden the money the max contract he wants, which is why he thinks there have been so many reports tying Harden to the Houston Rockets.
“The 76ers have not shown an appetite to pay Harden the max. That’s why they asked him to take a pay cut last year. The Rockets have the cap space. Do they do it? You know, there’s been a very hard rumor out there in the NBA about Harden’s intent to go back to Houston, and it makes you wonder if it’s being sold a little bit too hard, and that’s certainly something that people are considering. I guess we’re gonna wait and find out, but again…the Sixers are not really motivated to pay him that max salary if they don’t think anybody else is gonna do it.”
Fans shared their own responses on Twitter to Windhorst’s report that the Sixers don’t want to pay Harden the max.
One fan believed the Sixers were going with the right approach, saying, “76ers W.” Another said that Harden deserves the max because of lesser players than him who have gotten that contract. One fan said that neither the Sixers nor the Rockets should pay Harden the max for more than two years.
How Sixers Could Rebound From James Harden’s Departure
Bryan Toporek of Liberty Ballers explained how the Sixers could recover from Harden potentially departing this summer.
“Depending on what other moves they make over the next year, they could potentially create a max-contract slot to find a third star to pair with Embiid and Tyrese Maxey.”
Toporek explained how the Sixers could conjure up a way to open up a max slot.
“They’d have to get (Joel) Embiid on board with the plan, convince (Tyrese) Maxey to hold off on an extension, try to sign (De’Anthony) Melton to a below-his-max extension, and steer clear of non-minimum multiyear deals for (Georges) Niang, (Jalen) McDaniels, and (Shake) Milton in particular. That may be feasible, but it isn’t necessarily realistic.”
Toporek finished by explaining how the Sixers could pull something like that off.
“The Sixers could finagle their way into having enough cap space to sign one of them if they time their moves correctly. A sign-and-trade seems far more likely than carving out a full max-contract spot, but the Sixers might not be that far away from being able to make a major splash either way.”
James Harden’s Ex-Teammate Wants to Join Him
Patrick Beverley, who played with Harden on the Rockets from 2013 to 2017, commented on “The Pat Bev Podcast With Rone” that the chances of Harden going back to the Rockets and Beverley coming to join him as “very highly.”
Last summer, NBA Insider Jake Fischer mentioned Beverley as a possible option for the Sixers after he was traded to the Utah Jazz, but explained why it wasn’t likely to happen.
“Philadelphia had been mentioned as a potential Beverley suitor, with his past Houston experience and the Sixers’ obvious deep Rockets connections, but it seems unlikely that Beverley would now be Philadelphia-bound after the team acquired De’Anthony Melton on draft night.”
Beverley was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers instead.