James Harden Says He’s Returning to 76ers After Playoff Loss: ‘I’ll Be Here’
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Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden had a disappointing showing throughout the postseason, but he doesn’t plan on going anywhere.
Harden, who has a $47.4 million player option remaining on his deal, told reporters “I’ll be here” when asked if he intends to remain with Philadelphia and added, “We’re trying to win a championship.”
Philadelphia’s season came to an end on Thursday in a 99-90 loss to the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Harden scored just 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting to go with four rebounds, nine assists and four turnovers.
For the series, Harden averaged 18.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 4.8 turnovers while shooting 40.4 percent from the field and 33.2 percent from beyond the arc. He looked like a shell of the player Philadelphia hoped it had acquired in a blockbuster trade with the Brooklyn Nets midway through the year.
Harden indicated that he might not have been fully healthy throughout the playoffs. He told reporters that he plans on using the summer to recover from things that have been ailing him over the past two years and “get straight” for next season.
The Sixers could choose to lock up Harden on a long-term extension. When asked if he’s willing to take less money on a new deal, Harden responded, “Whatever it takes to make this team better.”
Philadelphia has a long list of decisions to make this offseason if it hopes to be a title contender next year. The Sixers are committed to building around star center Joel Embiid, so they will have to put the right pieces around him while he’s in his prime. It remains to be seen if the team believes Harden is a part of that future.
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