When James Harden first joined Joel Embiid in February, nobody imagined the season would end like this. After struggling for months to find his groove and return to his MVP form, Harden and his squad are being sent home in the semifinal round with a whole lot of questions to ask about the future.
Will Harden get the max? Can Embiid stay healthy? Can the star duo make things work? Will Doc Rivers return?
On Twitter, Philly became the subject of conversation after their elimination, with many fans considering where the team goes from here:
Needless to say, year one of the Harden/Embiid experiment was a failure. Now, it's up to Daryl Morey to take action and fix his team.
The most pressing matter will be James Harden, who will be looking for a new contract this summer. If you ask some, the team should let him walk. If you ask others, they should have never traded for him in the first place:
“The reason I didn't like the trade is two things," said Charles Barkley on the Harden deal. "The Sixers have a two-year window. Cause James is clearly in decline. But if you don't win this year, I think you gotta offer him $45 million next year and then they can sign that 4-year extension for $200 million. First of all, if the Sixers give him that money, they should fire whoever gives him that contract because that'll kill the franchise for the next 10-15 years. The reason I didn't like the trade, I said 'I don't think they're gonna win a Championship in the next two years and they gonna waste two years of Joel Embiid. Now you got the injury this season. James got a $45 million option which he's gonna take. And let me tell you if the Sixers give him that four-year, $200 million deal... James hasn't had 30 points in the last 35 games. So, I just think he’s on a decline and, man, the Sixers they’re gonna regret that trade."
Whatever happens between now and October, there is still reason to be hopeful if you're a Sixers fan. With the Ben Simmons saga officially over, the team can enjoy a distraction-free summer as they learn how to maximize each other's talents.
With a few moves and tweaks, the Sixers could plug some of their biggest holes on the floor and finally make the long playoff run fans have been desperate to witness. It will be a long summer in Philadelphia, but better days could lie ahead.