“I don’t think he is this season capable of being that type of player,” Stoudemire said on ESPN’s Get Up when asked if Harden is still capable of being a major scorer for Philly. “I think, not being in top shape, not taking your body serious, and not really being able to focus in on that in the off-season, and getting yourself prepared through training camp and through the regular season to get to this point… It takes a lot of determination for that to happen. And I don’t think that happened for him this past off-season, and throughout this season.”
He went on to praise Joel Embiid, and suggested that he was “carrying the team” despite having to play through injuries at various points of the season.
Later in the segment, Stoudemire was asked if he would commit to giving Harden a max contract if he was in charge of the 76ers. “I can’t commit to that if I’m the owner of the Sixers, I cannot commit to giving him a max deal,” he replied. “I just don’t see the dedication that I would need to see from my top 75 player. You have to be able to have a certain level of determination and focus on being the best player you can possibly be, and also be there for your teammates when they need you the most.”
Jalen Rose was also asked if he would give a max contract to Harden, and he agreed with Stoudemire’s evaluation. “No, I’m not,” he said. “Because to me, you’re doubling down on a bad mistake. Almost like the Lakers when they got Russell Westbrook.”
Harden was traded from the Nets to the 76ers in February, and he could opt-in to stick around for another year if he chooses to do so. Despite his criticism, Rose said he thinks Philly will beat the Heat on Thursday, but Stoudemire has his money on Miami.
Watch the two discuss Harden’s future at the 76ers above.