Nick Nurse joined The Hoop Collective podcast, discussed ‘very good talk’ with James Harden and maximizing Sixers’ potential next season
It’s no secret that the biggest question surrounding the Philadelphia 76ers right now is whether or not James Harden is going to return next season.
James Harden declined is one-year, $35.6 million player option to remain with the Sixers shortly after the Sixers fired head coach Doc Rivers after yet another second round playoff exit. He will now become a free agent when the NBA’s Free Agency period officially begins on June 30th at 6PM.
Over the past month, there have been countless rumors that Harden will return to the Houston Rockets next season. Other teams such as the Suns have been rumored as a possible destination after Phoenix decided to waive Chris Paul.
Just last week, Shams reported that James Harden is currently “torn” between remaining in Philadelphia or returning to Houston next season.
James Harden “Torn” Between Houston and Philly
The Sixers’ new head coach Nick Nurse recently talked about his efforts to keep James Harden in Philadelphia next season. Nurse joined ESPN’s Hoop Collective podcast and gave his thoughts on James Harden and his future with the Sixers.
Nick Nurse on Meeting with James Harden
“I did meet with him. Really good talk. I mean, you guys obviously know him and have talked to him quite a bit. He’s an intelligent player. man. He’s an intelligent player he sees a lot in the game and just when we talk about things, he’s kind of the same thing almost like he says, ‘How do you see it? How do you see our team? And what do you think of the playoffs?’ and just kind of start talking basketball, and he’s very enjoyable to talk basketball with, like I said, very, very smart, and that’ll add a lot of experience, a lot of success, and I would say the same thing. I mean, it (Harden and Joel Embiid) is a deadly inside-outside combination. It is a deadly pick-and-roll combination and just what other things can we do—what other areas of the offensive side can we do to polish that, make them even more efficient, not in those kinds of actions, but maybe other actions, you know? And then what’s the best thing we can do defensively to max those guys out?” via SixersWire
Nick Nurse on James Harden’s Playoff Performance
“I would say there isn’t a whole lot of guys that can do the performance, some of those performances that he did in the playoffs, right? Steph (Curry) had one, (Jayson) Tatum had one James had a couple, nobody’s doing that every night nor should they or should they be expected to…like (Tyrese) Maxey. He’s got to take a level up. He’s got to he’s got to play in some of those other games when those guys aren’t firing or the game plan has changed or whatever to take those guys out a little more. Tobias (Harris), PJ Tucker will be back I mean, there’s guys there around there that can help. (De’Anthony) Melton you know, those guys got to do what some of these Nugget guys are doing. Have some big time. performances in some of the playoff games as well.” via SixersWire
I have taken a firm stance on the Harden situation since the end of the Sixers’ playoff run. There is absolutely no way I would re-sign James Harden to a long term contract with the Philadelphia 76ers.
It’s been reported that James Harden is seeking a contract around 4-years $200 million. He’s 33-years old and while he’s still a fantastic player, he’s not the vintage Harden that we saw during his time in Houston. Giving him a long term contract makes zero sense for the Sixers, but the more I hear Nick Nurse talk about Harden, the more I believe that they are trying to bring him back next season.
Plus, we all know Daryl Morey is in love with Harden, which makes his return even more likely.
The fact remains that Harden was brought here to help get Joel Embiid and the Sixers out of the second round of the playoffs. He failed to do that and while he had a few shining moments in the playoffs, when the team needed him the most in Game 6 and Game 7, Harden came up short.
It’s not that I dislike Harden as a player or believe that the Sixers would be better off without him. Really for me, it’s the fact that Harden is going to be 34-years old next season and wants a 4-year contract to remain in Philadelphia that will cost the Sixers around $200 million. It just doesn’t seem worth it at that point given the production we received in return over season.
Just yesterday, it was reported that the Sixers could target Bradley Beal this summer.
The Ringer’s Bill Simmons offered a potential solution for Philadelphia: trade for Washington Wizards All-Star Bradley Beal. On the latest episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast, Simmons explained why the Sixers are the most likely team to land Beal this offseason.
Bill Simmons on the potential Bradley Beal to Sixers trade
“My guess, my bet, the odds on favorite—I would put them -200 would be Philadelphia,” Simmons said. “My odds on favorite is Philadelphia and I don’t even think it’s close. Beal and [Joel] Embiid, they’re friends. Embiid was trying to get him two years ago, which I kept telling people on this podcast. They ended up going with [James] Harden instead, Embiid was pushing hard for Beal. Harden is going to leave.
“If you’re Philly and you are going to lose Harden and now I have this shooter, that’s probably a better fit with Embiid anyway. And I have Tobias Harris on an expiring contract, couple future draft picks I could probably throw that I could probably find in my pocket somewhere. And, if you’re Washington it’s like, you know what we got out of the Beal contract. We have Harris as an expiring and we’re re-booting everything.”