It boils down to a simple question; Do you think the window is closed? If the answer is yes, then blow it up. There really isn’t a point of keeping a 34-year-old point guard, and a 29-year-old, often injured, MVP center. For Harden, it’s simply NOT giving him a contract. For Embiid it’s selling at a high absolute peak. But that’s the option if the window is CLOSED. But if your answer to the “simple question” is no then get ready to welcome back James Harden.
I’ve seen a lot of James Harden hate on social media. I get it, I do. He looked scared and lost in games 6 and 7. Content with driving the lane, kicking out to the corner, and praying that PJ Tucker or De’Anthony Melton hit a three. But some fans are pretending that James Harden suddenly turned into Sergio Rodriguez. Those fans fail to realize that the reality of Harden leaving might mean the Sixers have to turn to Sergio Rodriguez because they won’t have a point guard.
The Sixers don’t have many options. The war chest is empty. Morey has used up assets and picks and cap space. You can literally take draft night off since the Sixers have no picks this season. So building through the draft is not an option. Even if it was, relying on a rookie point guard is a bold move that likely wouldn’t lead to a championship. As for trades, what would you get?
In the NBA you can certainly get creative, but it’s tough to get creative with no picks, and no cap space. You will likely have to give up future picks to have a team take on Tobias Harris, and then you have to fill his starting role. So while getting out of the Tobias Harris contract WOULD likely lead to obtaining a starting point guard hes likely not going to be NEARLY as good as James Harden.
Here are the free agent point guards available per Spotrac
- Kyrie Irving (UFA)
- Fred VanVleet (Bird Rights)
- D’Angelo Russell (UFA)
- Patrick Beverley (UFA)
- Russell Westbrook (UFA)
- Dennis Schroeder (UFA)
- Gabe Vincent (UFA)
- Jevon Carter (UFA)
- Tre Jones (RFA)
- Ayo Dosunmu (RFA)
Ok, but what if you put Maxey at the point and sign a shooting guard? Its arguably worse.
- Bruce Brown (Player Option)
- Jordan Clarkson (Bird Rights)
- Josh Hart (Bird Rights)
- Austin Reaves (RFA)
- Gary Trent Jr (Bird Rights)
- Caris LeVert (UFA)
- Malik Beasley (Club Option)
- Alec Burks (Club Option)
- Donte DiVincenzo (Bird Rights)
- Max Strus (UFA)
So the guard market, as a whole, is gross. It’s hard to find a player you would HONESTLY take over James Harden. It would be hard for you to find a player on this list that makes the Sixers a better championship contender over Harden. Let’s not act like James Harden’s game helped propel Joel Embiid to his first MVP. Their pick-and-roll game was unstoppable for the majority of the season.
Is anyone itching to give James Harden a 4-year deal at close to, if not more than $40 million per? N0. But the cost of winning a championship might be just that.
So before you wave James Harden goodbye on Twitter, just know that you are also waving goodbye to a POSSIBLE championship. You’re waving goodbye to a championship window. You’re waving goodbye hope for quite some time.