Does the Harden situation impact Tyrese Maxey’s contract extension?
When you consider the James Harden trade request the Sixers are facing, the second thought that comes to mind - beyond the impact Harden has, himself - is the impact the situation has on the other players on the roster.
That opens the door to scary thoughts about Joel Embiid and his future with the franchise. They will go as he goes, as long as he continues to wear that jersey.
Maybe this next thought isn't front and center, but it's somewhere in your mind. How does Harden's desire to leave Philadelphia by any means necessary impact jovial guard Tyrese Maxey?
Maxey is due $4,343,920 in the 2023-24 season. He became eligible for an extension off of his rookie deal last month. In the summer of 2024, he can accept the qualifying offer from the Sixers, pocketing $6,259,588. Or, he can enter restricted free agency by declining the qualifying offer. Philadelphia would then have the opportunity to match any offer sheet he signs with another team.
Of course, that is only relevant if he and the Sixers don't reach a deal on a long-term extension by next summer's transaction cycle.
Kyle Neubeck was the first to report that Philadelphia was not expected to extend Maxey this summer.
"This is not viewed as a condemnation of Maxey or a reflection of how the team values him, with the team continuing to view Maxey as a long-term core piece. The lack of an extension would come down to the flexibility Philadelphia can maintain by holding off on a deal, potentially clearing a pathway to another max slot next summer," he wrote at PhillyVoice on June 30.
Public talk of a Maxey extension was bookmarked right then and there, cast to the shelf for the time being. But, Maxey's representation - Rich Paul and Klutch Sports - expressed a desire to get an extension done this summer, sources tell 97.3 ESPN. Philadelphia's position was the above - wait until next summer, maintain flexibility.
Now, even though the two sides disagreed on the order of operations, that isn't abnormal. A source familiar with Philadelphia's thinking insisted that being on different pages in this way isn't something to cause alarm. It's natural to want your client to get his money now rather than later, just like it makes sense to be creative with every team-building tool at your disposal.
The Sixers' stance on Maxey has been remarkably consistent throughout the offseason - they view him as a cornerstone of their future. They don't just talk about building around Embiid; they talk about building around both him and Maxey. Any ear that will listen knows that the Sixers view Maxey as untouchable in trade talks.
But, Paul is obviously watching the Harden situation unfold from afar.
A source familiar with Maxey's camp characterized the Sixers guard as "indifferent" to the Harden situation. Maxey is clearly close with the bearded point guard. But, teammates know that contractual issues are between the team and that player, and no one else.
While it's not something that is Maxey's business to take personally, a league source suggested that the reported catalyst for Harden's trade request - a big pot of gold that he expected to be at the end of the rainbow and was not - should serve as a business lesson for no. 0.
A source familiar with the situation dismissed the idea that Maxey's camp should be concerned about his extension in the backdrop of Harden's grievances, citing that the two guards are at vastly different stages of their careers and that Maxey still has upside to tap into.
Nonetheless, Paul is quite aware of Morey's reputation, both now and prior to coming to Philadelphia. He worked with the Sixers president of basketball operations during Ben Simmons' trade request, too.
Any concerns that he already has about trusting the Sixers brass will be amplified by Harden's gripe.
The rules of that first contract off of a rookie deal make it inherently more financially fruitful for Maxey to stay in Philadelphia. There are no signs that things won't be copacetic, but Paul will stay on his toes about the finer details of an agreement until the ink is on the paper.