James Harden wants a trade from the Philadelphia 76ers, but how does that impact Joel Embiid’s level of commitment to the franchise? The reigning MVP reportedly hasn’t wavered on his desire to win an NBA championship, but are the Sixers bringing the same expectation to the 2023 season?
According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, Embiid has offered the 76ers “assurances” that he’s on board with waiting out the ongoing drama surrounding Harden’s status with the team. Yet, how long Embiid’s patience lasts is anyone’s guess.
Complicating matters even further is Tyrese Maxey’s future in Philadelphia. Maxey is scheduled to be a restricted free agent after the 2023 season concludes. Although he’s eligible to sign an extension now and has been all offseason, ESPN’s report indicates Maxey has been waiting to sign so the 76ers can maintain its ability to operate under the salary cap, building a stronger roster in Philly.
However, it’s not like Harden is operating in isolation. He’s reportedly been in contact with both Embiid and Maxey all offseason long, with the reigning MVP even inviting Harden to his wedding two months ago.
Most players, if asked to comment, would say they’re not inclined to speak on another athlete’s financial aspirations. Chances are, Harden’s teammates feel the same way, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t welcome him back as they pursue a chance to win an NBA championship this season.
Or, if the 76ers find a trade for Harden, his teammates would probably understand that too, as long as it still gives Philadelphia a chance to compete. How long will it take until we have a solution on Harden’s future? We’re all waiting for the next shoe to drop too, including Harden.