Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden reportedly is expected to sign a short-term extension with the team this coming offseason.
“Two weeks from the beginning of NBA free agency on June 30 at 6 p.m. ET, all signs point toward All-Star guard James Harden returning to the Philadelphia 76ers on a shorter-term contract extension, league sources told B/R,” Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer wrote.
“Harden and Sixers leadership are aligned on one clear directive, sources said: The franchise’s best opportunity to compete for a championship starring Joel Embiid, as well as Harden’s optimal opportunity to earn his first NBA ring, resides with Harden playing in Philadelphia for the foreseeable future.”
Fischer also explained that the Sixers have been reluctant to give Harden a full max extension. The plan instead is for Harden to sign a shorter deal that will give him more “optionality” in his career.
“In any scenario, Harden is expected to pick up his player option for the 2022-23 season, sources said, but the Sixers’ further financial commitment to him remains to be seen once the legal negotiating period begins,” Fischer wrote. “Since Philadelphia acquired Harden in a trade in mid-February, it would behoove him financially to wait until Aug. 10 before signing an extension, more than six months after the Sixers sent Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round picks to Brooklyn for the 32-year-old former MVP.”
Harden appeared in 21 games for the Sixers during the 2021-22 regular season. He averaged 21.0 points, 7.1 rebounds and 10.5 assists per game while shooting 40.2 percent from the field and 32.6 percent from beyond the arc.
Philadelphia is hoping that its duo of Harden and Embiid will lead the team to an NBA title in the near future. The Sixers obviously aren’t willing to lose Harden this coming offseason after trading so much for him at this year’s deadline.
While Harden did not have a strong shooting season in the 2021-22 campaign, the Sixers clearly believe in him to be the running mate for Embiid for multiple seasons.
Philly made it to the second round of the playoffs this year, but it was eliminated by the Miami Heat in six games.