The Philadelphia 76ers' blockbuster trade for James Harden before the February deadline seemed to make perfect sense. Not only they were landing one of the biggest names in NBA, but also parted ways with disgruntled star Ben Simmons in the process.
And at first sight, it looked like everything worked out perfectly for them, as The Beard gave many reasons for optimism in his first games as a Sixer. However, the outlook is completely different now that the 76ers are out of the playoffs.
Harden's bright start in Philly didn't last for long, as his production started to decline and he was never his true self again. Despite the critics, the Sixers made clear they want to run it back with him next year.
Daryl Morey says Sixers want to have a full season with James Harden
Although Harden failed to prove his critics wrong during the playoffs, the Sixers are confident that things will be different if he works with the team the entire season. Daryl Morey explained that the idea is to have him back next year, hoping that he improves his level.
“He’s an incredibly talented player just like Joel (Embiid), just like Tobias (Harris), and I’m excited for Doc (Rivers) and his staff to have a whole offseason, work with the players, and come up with the best plan for the roster we’ll have which we don’t know exactly as we just mentioned the bench and how that’s going to look," Morey said, per Sixers Wire.
"Which players on the roster we’re going to feel like the core going forward and which ones are the ones where maybe we can get an acquisition that might help. Once we have that in place, I’m excited for what the coaching staff can come up with it versus, obviously, because of our circumstances, you know, having it all come together in February, makes it very difficult to try and figure out how to unlock all the different skills of the players and how they can work together... we think with a full year with James [Harden], we can unlock what he brings to us."
Morey may have a point, Harden has only been with the team for half of the season. That being said, he could have done much better. Many believe they should no longer have expectations on him, but the Sixers want to make sure to give him another chance before determining this was a mistake.