Charles Barkley believes Sixers star James Harden is on the decline

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The Philadelphia 76ers made a big trade in February when they acquired James Harden in a deadline deal from the Brooklyn Nets. The idea was Harden would bring his playmaking and scoring to the team and help Joel Embiid get the job done.

At the moment, the Sixers are trailing the Miami Heat 3-2 in the conference semifinals, and Harden hasn’t been the player some expected. He has been terrific as a playmaker and has made his teammates better. But in terms of his offensive performance, he hasn’t had any big scoring games outside of Game 4 against the Heat when he scored 31 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter.

Harden has a big player option for the 2022-23 season that he will likely exercise, but the question becomes whether Philadelphia will sign him to an extension in the 2023 offseason.

Charles Barkley believes that will be a mistake: He believes Harden is on a decline:

The reason I didn’t like the trade, and I’m not saying just because I didn’t — go back and look. I said I don’t like the trade because of two things: the Sixers only got a two-year window because James is clearly in decline, but if you don’t win this year, I think he’s got an option for $45 million next year, then he can sign that four-year extension for $200 million. If the Sixers give him that money, they should fire whoever gives him that contract because that’d kill the franchise for the next 10 to 15 years because I can say when they made that trade, the reason I don’t like the trade is I don’t think they’re gonna win the championship in the next two years, and they’re gonna waste two years of Joel Embiid. Now you’ve got the injury which probably screws this season. James got a $45 million option which he’s clearly gonna take and I’m gonna tell you if the Sixers give him that four-year $200 million deal, whoever first of all, I know the owners ain’t gonna let them do that…I just think he’s on a decline and man, the Sixers, they’re gonna regret that trade.

It remains to be seen what the Sixers will do with Harden, but at the same time, the trade is still a successful one for Philadelphia. They swapped a player who never played, Ben Simmons, for a guy who at least was a help on the offensive end. It will be interesting to see what happens.

This post originally appeared on Sixers Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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