James Harden went from superstar to overpaid in just one season. Some analysts predicted his downfall for years, stating that he wouldn't be able to keep up his scoring pace unless he started taking good care of his body. Now, the Sixers have seen that firsthand.
Kevin Durant wasn't happy with Harden's poor work ethic and bad shape. Harden didn't like being held accountable, so he forced a trade to reunite with Daryl Morey, who's never going to call him out.
The outcome was as predictable as it was unfortunate. Harden took just two shots in the second half of a close-out game and went scoreless. He's just not that player anymore, and he's not getting any younger.
NBA News: Amar'e Stoudemire Says Sixers Shouldn't Give James Harden A Max Deal
Harden is 32 years old and eligible to sign a max contract worth $270 million. That's why former NBA star Amar'e Stoudemire urged the Sixers to stay away from him and give him that kind of money:
“If I’m the owner of the Sixers, I cannot commit to giving him a max deal,” Stoudemire said on ESPN's Get Up.“I just don’t see the dedication that I would need to see from my top 75 player. You have to be able to have a certain level of determination and focus on being the best player you can possibly be and also be there for your teammates when they need you the most… If he’s not capable of doing that as a max player, I’m not going to be willing to now give you a max contract if you’re not showing me that you can handle the situation.”
Stoudemire Rips Harden's Poor Work Ethic
Stoudemire was a part of the Nets' coaching staff during Harden's brief tenure with the team. He saw how he handled his body and got ready for the season. Needless to say, he didn't like it one bit:
“I don’t think he is this season capable of being that type of player,” Stoudemire added.“I think, not being in top shape, not taking your body serious, and not really being able to focus in on that in the off-season, and getting yourself prepared through training camp and through the regular season to get to this point… It takes a lot of determination for that to happen. And I don’t think that happened for him this past off-season, and throughout this season.”
Harden could've been a legend, and chances are he'll be a Hall of Famer anyway. But he doesn't have a legacy or even a fanbase at this point in his career. He never took himself seriously, so why should the rest of us do it?