The 76ers have been looking for a superstar since signing Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid in the past 2 seasons. Even with major upgrades, their lack of superstars has prevented them from making any noise during LeBron’s departure to the Lakers. Now they find themselves one win away from reaching The Finals and James Harden is on the trading block. Charles Barkley made it clear that he will not be happy if this ends up happening because “we don’t need another chucker”.

The “who does james harden play for” is a question that has been on the minds of 76ers fans. The Philadelphia 76ers have a decision to make with regards to James Harden and their future. Charles Barkley sent a stern warning to the team about their upcoming decision.

James Harden hasn’t been bad for the Philadelphia 76ers, but he hasn’t looked like the All-NBA scorer Daryl Morey hoped to acquire at the NBA trade deadline. Harden has averaged only 18.1 points per game in nine postseason games with his new club, shooting 39.8% from the field and 32.1 percent from three. The potential 10-time All-Star is averaging a postseason career-high 9.0 assists, but if the Sixers want to go all the way, they need him to be more aggressive and efficient as a scorer.

Beyond this season, Philadelphia will have to decide this summer whether or not to spend more than $270 million on a 32-year-old who is nearing the end of his career. If they do, Charles Barkley, a former 76er and current TNT commentator, thinks it would be a fireable offense.

The 76ers must make a $270 million choice on James Harden.

James Harden looks on against the Heat.

James Harden looks on against the Heat. During the 2022 NBA Playoffs, James Harden of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on against the Miami Heat | Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The 76ers were dead bent on signing future Hall of Famer Harden to a contract extension in the winter when they acquired him at the NBA trade deadline in February. That may still be Philadelphia’s goal, but the front office must be less confident than it was a few months ago.

Harden has performed well for the Sixers. Everything is good. He hasn’t been so bad that he’s costing the club games, but he hasn’t been very prolific in the scoring area either. In any of the 76ers’ nine postseason games this season, he hasn’t scored more than 22 points. That’s troubling for a player who came into the playoffs averaging more than 23 points per game.

His first-step explosion isn’t what it used to be, he can’t consistently generate separation or knock down perimeter jumpers, and his rim finishing has deteriorated.

What is Philadelphia’s most pressing issue right now? According to Danny Leroux of The Athletic, if Harden exercises his $47.4 million player option this summer (which, let’s face it, he will), the Sixers might end up paying him more than $270 million over the next five years.

Nobody knows if the 76ers will re-sign Harden or let him go. We do know what Charles Barkley would do if he were in control of the team, however.

Harden’s deal would be a fireable offense, according to Charles Barkley.

Barkley spent eight seasons in Philadelphia. Whether he acknowledges it or not, a part of him still hopes for the success of his previous squad.

However, Barkley feels that signing Harden to a huge agreement this summer would doom the Sixers for years to come.

“There are two reasons why I didn’t like the move,” Barkley said on SiriusXM NBA Radio this week. “Because James is plainly in decline, the Sixers have a two-year window.” But if you don’t win this year, I believe you should give him $45 million next year and then they can sign the $200 million four-year deal.

“First and foremost, the Sixers should terminate whomever grants him that deal because it will ruin the club for the next 10-15 years.” ‘I don’t believe they’re going to win a championship in the next two years, and they’re going to squander two years of Joel Embiid,’ I stated when I didn’t like the move. I simply believe he’s on the slide, and the Sixers are going to rue that move.”

The only way the Harden deal succeeds in Philadelphia’s eyes is if he helps the club win a championship. Anything less would be considered a failure by all parties concerned. The 76ers just cannot afford to spend $270 million on a retired great who will not assist them in achieving their ultimate aim.

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J.B. Bickerstaff, James Harden’s former coach, offers Doc Rivers advice on how to bring out the old James Harden.

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