On the Philadelphia 76ers’ media day, the biggest highlight of the event was the missing of James Harden. Many rumors surrounding this absence suggested that Harden is still pushing his trade to the Los Angeles Clippers and holding his dispute with Sixers president Daryl Morey.
Harden, is undoubtedly one of the most talented players in the game and a future Hall of Famer. He is an important player for the Sixers and they will not trade him easily unless they get something better in return. The franchise has the experience of the Ben Simmons saga two years ago which was similar to Harden’s current situation.
The Sixers players have shared their perspectives on the ongoing Harden situation. Newcomer Patrick Beverley said, “It’s above my pay grade. Obviously, One of my reasons for coming here was Tobias, James, (Joel) Embiid, and Nick Nurse. So to be very competitive in this East now that these teams are making all these moves. It’d be great to have him. Obviously, you can’t replace a person like that a player like that, but if it doesn’t work out, we definitely have enough to go to war with for sure.”
Joel Embiid: “I’m happy with what we have.” Reinforces that he simply believes he needs to stay healthy all the way through the playoffs for this team to have a chance. He says he’s excited about what Tyrese Maxey can do, and hopes James Harden will be back in the fold.
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) October 2, 2023
Young star Tyrese Maxey opened up about his bond with Harden, “As a brother and I love James. Me and James became close over the last two years… we hope that he comes in and plays.” Reflecting similar sentiments, MVP Joel Embiid confidently expressed his faith in the team’s current lineup but hopes for Harden’s return.
Can the 76ers dominate the East if James Harden returns?
Last season, the Philadelphia 76ers showed their prowess, finishing the regular season with an impressive 54-28 record and securing the third seed in the Eastern Conference. With Harden leading in assists per game and Embiid winning the MVP, the team did very well.
They swept the Brooklyn Nets in the playoffs’ first round and had a 3-2 lead, in the series with Boston Celtics. But the Celtics made an unexpected comeback and stopped the Sixers’ advance.
The team has made some major changes for this upcoming season by firing the coach Doc Rivers and hiring ex-Toronto Raptors’ Nick Nurse. If Harden returns, under Nurse’s charge, the team promises to be a dominant force in the East. The potential starting lineup featuring Harden (PG), Maxey (SG), Tobias Harris (SF), PJ Tucker (PF), and Embiid (Center) is undoubtedly a competitive team.
Here is an updated look at the depth chart for the Philadelphia 76ers after the signing of Kelly Oubre Jr. https://t.co/nU3NBBp9oX
— Sixers Wire (@SixersWire) September 24, 2023
With the preseason matches starting on 9th October, all eyes are on Harden. His return could be beneficial in the 76ers’ championship run, making them favorites in the East. Only time will tell if Philadelphia can secure a spot in the conference finals.