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Philadelphia 76ers reportedly to take hardball approach to James Harden trade request

While the Philadelphia 76ers and star James Harden are reportedly working toward finding him a new home on the trade market, the organization is expected to make a move that is in their best interest and it could include holding on to the future Hall-of-Famer.

The situation between the Philadelphia 76ers and James Harden has been a roller coaster over the last few months. During the season, he was one half of the dynamic duo that led a team that was a legitimate title contender. In the playoffs, he was a source of joy and anger from fans for his up-and-down performances in some of their most important games.

Related: 5 potential James Harden trade destinations, including the New York Knicks

Furthermore, during that time rumors hovered over the team about his potential exit and return to the Houston Rockets in the offseason. Yet, despite weeks of rumblings after their elimination in the playoffs, James Harden did not opt out of the final year of his contract. Instead, he shockingly opted into the $35 million owed to him, but with a caveat. He wanted to be traded elsewhere.

His surprise decision reportedly was a response to the Philadelphia 76ers’ silence in regard to his future with the team following the season. While it would seem like the 10-time All-Star would seem to have the leverage after forcing his way out of two previous stops, it looks like the Sixers are planning to do what is in their best interest when it comes to Harden’s trade request.

Philadelphia 76ers are ‘comfortable’ holding on to James Harden this summer

Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

According to Sports Illustrated NBA insider Chris Mannix, “There have been strong rumblings out of Philadelphia that if the Sixers don’t get the kind of offer they are looking for in a James Harden deal they are comfortable playing out next season with him on the roster.”

Philadelphia 76ers general manager Daryl Morey was in Houston when Harden forced his way out of town three years ago. With the star’s options limited and his skills in decline, Mannix suggested the leverage is in the 76ers’ hands because if Harden wants one last big money deal or an exit elsewhere, he will need to play well and perform or just risk further damaging his diminished value.

This will be an interesting situation to watch in the next month.