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The Sixers Would Be Better Off Keeping Tobias Harris and Letting James Harden Walk

Article Written by Michael Doctorovitz

Originally Published on June 29, 2023

The last three seasons for the Philadelphia 76ers have been very painful. In fact, the last three seasons have felt like the climax of how far this team can go with Joel Embiid as the main star. It isn’t time to rebuild yet though.


This offseason is key for where the Sixers want to be five years from now. Two names that have been flying around have been James Harden and Tobias Harris. Harris, 30, has one year remaining on his egregious contract that was given to him by General Manager Elton Brand. Harden, 33, on the other hand, is most likely going to opt-out of the remaining $35.6 million he has on his contract and will seek a long term deal that is similar to a max.


In his first full season with the Sixers, Harden averaged 21.0 points, 10.7 assists and 6.1 rebounds per game while shooting 44.1% from the field and 38.5% from beyond the arc. That is all well and good but the Sixers would be better off letting Harden walk and letting Tyrese Maxey run the offense for the upcoming season with Embiid and Harris by his side.


In his last three seasons, Harris has averaged 17.0 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists while shooting 49.8% from the field and 38.3% from beyond the arc while also defending at a high level. For those that think Harris shrinks in the playoffs, in 35 postseason games since 2020-2021 Harris has averaged 18.1 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.7 assists while shooting 50.1% from the field and 37.6% from beyond the arc.


If the Sixers sign Harden to a long term deal, let’s say four years, they will have problems constructing a roster around he and Embiid and will have him under contract until he is 38 years old. Meanwhile, if they let him walk then Maxey can have a year to run the offense and once Harris’ contract is up next year, the Sixers will have more money to sign Maxey to an extension and bring in more pieces to surround him and Embiid.




Michael Doctorovitz

Columnist,

The Locker Room with Billy Schweim




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