Sixers Could Make Major Changes After the Season, Ex-NBA Star Warns

James Harden, Sixers

Getty Head coach Doc Rivers and James Harden #1 of the Philadelphia 76ers speak during the fourth quarter against the Toronto Raptors at Wells Fargo Center on December 19, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The Philadelphia 76ers may need a deep playoff run to stave off major organizational changes, a former player warns.

In an appearance on ESPN’s “First Take” on March 28, ex-Sixers sharpshooter J.J. Redick said he believes the franchise could be nearing an “inflection point.” After several years of title contention with little to show for it, the Sixers could break up their core group if they don’t make a meaningful run this season, he warned.

J.J. Redick’s Warning for Sixers: ‘Probably Going to Be Some Changes’

Redick noted that the Sixers have already been gaining a reputation as a team that can’t quite break through in the NBA playoffs. Even though head coach Doc Rivers has a strong resume and Joel Embiid has been a perennial MVP contender, the team has not been able to advance past the conference semifinals during their three-year run of title contention.

“This will be an inflection point this playoff run, this offseason with the Philadelphia 76ers,” Redick said. “Doc Rivers is one of a few coaches that have blown a 3-1 series lead. He’s the only one to do it multiple times, he’s done it three times.”

Redick added that Philadelphia’s top two players, Embiid and James Harden, also have a reputation for coming up short in the playoffs. If the Sixers can’t advance any further in this year’s playoffs, the team will likely break up the core and try a different approach, he predicted.

“There’s been points in time in James Harden’s career, he’s certainly had some great series, where he has gone away the last couple games and not played to his standard and Joel Embiid — his injuries that you brought up,” Redick told co-host Jay Williams. “All these things, if they don’t get to at least the Eastern Conference finals, I think there is going to be probably some changes. This won’t be the same core group of people that come back next year in Philly if they don’t reach the conference finals.”

Changes Already Brewing for Sixers?

There could be some major organizational changes even if the Sixers make a deep playoff run. On December 25, ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Harden is seriously considering opting out of his contract to rejoin the Houston Rockets.

“All-Star guard James Harden is seriously considering a return to the Houston Rockets in free agency this July — if he decides against a new deal with the Philadelphia 76ers, sources told ESPN,” Wojnarowski reported.

“Harden and his inner circle have been openly weighing Houston in recent months, sources said, a remarkable possibility given that he requested and received a trade out of the franchise less than two years ago.”

Rivers has also faced criticism for his handling of both Embiid and Harden, with some rumors cropping up earlier in the season that his job could be in danger. After the Sixers stumbled to a 1-4 start, ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported on “The Lowe Post” that some insiders in the “league ecosystem” were discussing the possibility that the veteran coach could be fired if the team didn’t turn things around quickly.

Rivers responded by leading the team on a 20-10 stretch through the months of November and December. With the playoffs approaching and eight games left, the Sixers are in third place in the Eastern Conference.

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