Boston Celtics legend Paul Pierce doesn’t believe the Philadelphia 76ers should max out 7x All-NBA guard James Harden — saying as much during a recent appearance on the “Ticket and the Truth” podcast.
“It depends on the numbers and the years,” Pierce told co-host and former Celtics teammate Kevin Garnett. “You can’t, I don’t know if you could give James a maximum contract right now because then you gonna kinda like handicap your future and your flexibility. Because you got to get better. You got to add something to there.”
Harden can sign a four-year, $210 million contract with the Sixers this offseason. “The Beard” turned down a player option for the 2023-24 season worth $35.6 million in order to hit unrestricted free agency. The Rockets represent the most realistic potential Harden poacher, while the Suns were recently floated as a potential landing spot. It should be worth noting that Philadelphia doesn’t have a direct path to cap space if he Harden departs in free agency.
Boston Celtics legend Paul Pierce bearish on Sixers’ roster
Pierce sounded disapproving of the Sixers’ roster, saying they “need” to improve around Tyrese Maxey and Joel Embiid and add depth to a roster that lacked it during its postseason run that got cut short by the Boston Celtics.
“Man, they got to get better,” Pierce prefaced before saying, “I don’t know what it is right now. I like (Tyrese) Maxey going forward. I mean they had it right — they should have won Game Six at home versus the Celtics. They fumbled that. Joel Embiid is in his prime right now, so maybe just development with their young guys off the bench. You always need players you can depend on. You need to get that player you can depend on off the bench. I think that’s what they need, some more dependability off the bench. Some depth.”
Retaining Harden at a maximum or near-max contract rate could cripple Philadelphia moving forward with a punitive CBA kicking in. Perhaps Pierce’s words should be heeded by the Sixers if they knew what was good for them.