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NBA news: Is it time for the Philadelphia 76ers and James Harden to split up?

James Harden came to the Philadelphia 76ers with lofty expectations, and was expected to be the missing piece which turned the Sixers from a play-off team into a legitimate championship contender.

Many compared the new duo of him and Joel Embiid to Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. However, aside from an impressive Game 4 performance against the Miami Heat, Harden struggled to even come close to expectations during their entire play-off run. 

Many will point to the fact that he's a few months shy of his 33rd birthday and has been dealing with hamstring issues over the past year, which has severely impacted his ability to generate enough boost on drives to the rim.

However, we live in a society where no one will feel sorry for you if you don't get the job done, especially with the price tag and the assets the Sixers had to give up just to get his signature.

Joel Embiid criticizes James Harden

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
Joel Embiid admitted that he expected a different version of Harden to show up, but came to the realization that the 2018 MVP is essentially a shell of his former self.
"Since we got him, everybody expected the Houston James Harden," Embiid said. "But that's not who he is anymore. He's more of a playmaker. I thought, at times, he could have been, as all of us could have been, more aggressive."
Embiid also threw shade towards Harden following the Sixers' season-ending loss, as he praised the Sixers' president of basketball operations, Daryl Morey, for bringing in Seth Curry and Andre Drummond.

Both these men were sent to the Brooklyn Nets, alongside Ben Simmons, in the deal that sent Harden to Philly.

With all of this said, the Sixers have to look long and hard to determine if they want Harden moving forward.

The best-case scenario for the franchise would be for the player to opt into the final year of his contract, as that will give Philly one more year to determine how he would fit this roster with a training camp and full season under his belt.

However, if Harden opts out, then the S best hope is that no team offers Harden a max contract, and they can get him to agree to a team-friendly deal.

With no other avenues to improve this roster, the Sixers have no choice but to do everything they can to make this Harden experiment work.

READ MORE: All-time leading scorers in NBA Playoff history

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