The Philadelphia 76ers did not finish this season on good terms. Despite trading for James Harden, they lost in the second round of the playoffs to a very rowdy Miami Heat squad.
To make matters worse, Harden played pretty poorly throughout the series, which has called into question his worth at this stage of his career.
As contract talks are still ongoing, nobody knows what kind of deal the Beard will reach this summer. 76ers VP Daryl Morey is apparently looking for something close to three years.
(via The Void):
I’ve been told that (Sixers) ownership wants him to opt into the $46.9 million deal for the 22/23 season, which is no surprise. I’ve been told Morey he wants that to be a three-year deal.
Harden has until June 29 to decide what he will do with the player option on his current deal. If he opts out, he'll be headed for an interesting and possibly very frustrating free agency period. If he opts in, it will send him back to the negotiating table with $47.4 million guaranteed for next season.
Harden failed to live up to the hype as the season went on, and it got even worse in the playoffs, as he averaged just 18.6 points per game. It was his lowest scoring average in a single postseason since 2012, and he went out with a whimper in Game 6 against the Miami Heat in the Conference Semifinals as well. That has left many wondering if the Sixers should want to sign up Harden on a long-term extension.
From Harden's perspective, he has a $47.4 million player option that he can opt into and the deadline for it is the 29th of June. There are a few ways to look at this here for Harden. He can either opt-in and have a great season which he can parlay into a big extension, but that does come with the risk of what might happen if he doesn't play at a high level. He can also opt-in and sign an extension, but with the Sixers unlikely to pay him the max, that might be off the table as well.
It would be best for Harden to take the money. He might never see a salary like it again.
Since leaving the Rockets a few years ago, Harden just hasn't been himself. He has struggled to shake off defenders and score at his usual pace. In Philadelphia, his efficiency has been on the floor.
With a few years to make amends, Harden will have the chance to prove his worth in the seasons to come. Still, his long-term future in Philly is anything but guaranteed at this point.