Here is something that no one wants to see happen. This would be far worse than showing up to training camp injured or out of shape. Harden could poison the locker room, chirping in Joel Embiid’s ear about how the franchise is stuck in limbo and he’ll never get out of the second round while wearing a Sixers’ uniform. Some of that appears to be happening already.
Worse yet, Harden could pull Tyrese Maxey aside and start sowing the seeds of discontent. The 22-year-old combo guard adores Harden and considers him a mentor. The Sixers might be in a position to make him the face of the franchise at some point in the near future. They cannot, under any circumstances, allow Harden to sour him on his future in Philly.
“I’ve learned a lot from James. He’s been great,” Maxey told Jackson Frank of Uproxx. “He’s been great on and off the court. On the court, for sure, he’s taught me so many different things. He’s taught me to be confident. He’s taught me to be myself … He said he wouldn’t be here to hinder my progress. He’s gonna only be here to help and I think he’s done that, man. He’s kinda taken me under his wing and helped me be successful, even more successful than I was before.”
Maxey has way too genuine of a personality. He is too committed to the community and to the fan base. He would never eat Harden’s poison pill. Probably not. Then again, Maxey has yet to receive financial stability from the Sixers after a report surfaced that they were waiting until 2024 to hand him a contract extension. Maxey is currently eligible for a five-year, $213 million extension. The deadline for an offer sheet is October 23.