76ers are the real losers in James Harden-Ben Simmons trade bust

In February, the question was who won the James Harden-Ben Simmons trade.

Now it’s a question of who lost it worse.

And right now, Philadelphia has a Harden problem.

The former MVP passive-aggressioned his way from the Nets to the Sixers back in February. But Harden’s season-ending performance on Thursday was so putrid that people around the NBA are saying his time as a worthy supermax player won’t end during a potential extension. It’s already over.

What’s starting now is his time as a problem, with the Sixers facing choices of paying him a potentially crippling max deal or letting him walk.

Oh, they’ve got choices. And they’re all bad.

“I cannot commit to that if I’m the owner of the Sixers,” said former Nets development coach Amar’e Stoudemire, who watched Harden for 1 1/2 seasons, ahead of Game 6. “I just don’t see the dedication that I need to see from one of the top 75 players. You have to have a certain level of dedication and focus to be the best player you can possibly be, and also be there for your teammates when they need you the most.

“In Game 6 you’re going to need him to play at a high level; and if he’s not capable of that — and as a max player — I’m not now willing to now give you a max contract if you’re not showing me you can handle this situation.”…

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