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Leigh Steinberg gives agent’s perspective on upcoming James Harden/Sixers contract talks

Steinberg, who represents NFL-star Patrick Mahomes and countless other big names in the sports world, gives some insight into how agents would handle Harden’s contractual demands with Daryl Morey and the Sixers.

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Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Philadelphia 76ers’ 2021-22 season ended when they lost Game 6 to the Miami Heat in the second round of the NBA playoffs.

With an MVP-type candidate on the roster in Joel Embiid and an up-and-coming star in Tyrese Maxey, president of basketball operations, Daryl Morey will need to make some decisions on how to build the Sixers into a championship contender.

One of those decisions is how to proceed with James Harden’s upcoming contract negotiations. Harden will likely exercise his player option for a one-year $47.4 million deal for next season. The 32-year-old is eligible to sign a four-year $233 million extension this offseason, but ESPN’s Brian Windhorst says that Morey and the Sixers won’t offer Harden the maximum.

Windhorst says Morey and the organization would like to find a way to keep Harden on a cheaper deal, which would allow the Sixers to open up some cap space and potentially add another star-level player during the offseason.

On the latest episode of Sixers Daily, I am joined by super-agent Leigh Steinberg — who represents NFL superstar QB Patrick Mahomes — to discuss how a player like Harden’s representation would approach negotiations over the summer.

I asked Steinberg how he would handle a team-executive asking his client to take less than market value to help the organization win a title.

“The client’s in charge. He needs to have all the information. That’s ultimately his decision. Tom Brady never made the max in terms of dollars, but he went to endless Super Bowls, which enhanced his life in so many different ways. That’s the client’s decision to make. And again, it just matters if that were their position, how much they want to cut him. At the end of the day, James Harden makes his own decision. But he and his agent will weigh it against what their other options are and whether or not there’s a team that would pay him $47 million that he would rather go to. So you’re looking at every totality. The team is looking at what their options are. What if they lose James Harden? what is our world look like then?”

I also asked Steinberg about:

  • How an agent uses statistics and analytics in negotiating with team executives for new player contracts.
  • How he would try and negotiate a max contract for Harden if he was his agent.
  • What kind of numbers do general managers/team executives use to negotiate the best deal for the franchise?
  • How Tobias Harris’ deal could impact negotiations with Harden.
  • The differences between NFL and NBA players and negotiating their deals.

You can listen to the full episode below:

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