Harden wants long-term future with 76ers: 'Whatever it takes'
Harden has a $47.4-million player option for next season, which he appears likely to exercise after telling reporters, including the Bucks County Courier Times' Tom Moore, that he'll "be here" next season.
Should the former MVP exercise the option, he and the 76ers could work on a long-term extension. A max contract would pay Harden $270 million over the next five seasons, according to Spotrac.
However, when asked about potentially taking less than the full amount, Harden said he'll do "whatever it takes" to remain in Philadelphia.
The crucial offseason decision for president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and Co. was made more difficult after the 76ers' 99-90 loss to the Miami Heat, which eliminated them from the postseason.
Harden put up 11 points on nine shot attempts, his lowest usage rate in any game he's played more than 30 minutes in, regular season or playoffs, since 2011, according to team writer Couper Moorhead.
The former scoring champion topped 22 points just once in Philadelphia's 12 playoff contests. Harden's 22 points per game split between the 76ers and Brooklyn Nets this season represent his lowest output since coming off the bench with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2011-12.
Joel Embiid believes his star running mate has transitioned into more of a distributor than a pure scorer.
"Obviously, I'm sure since we got him, everybody expected the Houston (Rockets version of) James Harden, but that's not who he is anymore," Embiid said, according to HoopsHype's Michael Scotto. "He's more of a playmaker.
"I thought, at times, as with all of us, could've been more aggressive."