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Amar’e Stoudemire Unloads On Out Of Shape James Harden

Count Amar’e Stoudemire amongst those who weren’t surprised to see James Harden disappear with the 76ers’ season on the line.

A seemingly always out-of-shape Harden contributed just 11 points in Philadelphia’s Thursday night loss to Miami in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Harden’s effort – or lack thereof – was arguably the biggest factor in Philly’s season coming to a premature end.

When the 76ers swung a deal with Brooklyn to land Harden just before the league’s trade deadline, Philadelphia believed that Harden was still a superstar who could score at will and carry a franchise. Stoudemire clearly thought otherwise. Until recently, he served as a player development assistant for the Nets and spent plenty of time with Harden.

“I don’t think he is this season capable of being that type of player,” Stoudemire said during an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up.

As Stoudemire (and just about everybody else) sees it, Harden hasn’t been in shape all season and lacks the resolve to do so.

“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,” said Stoudemire.

“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.”

Against the Heat, Harden averaged just 18.2 points per game and shot barely more than 40% from the field. Because of his declining numbers, consistent habit of not being in shape, and age (32), Stoudemire would pass on re-signing Harden for big money this summer (he’s eligible for a max contract paying north of $40 million per season).

“I can’t commit to that. If I’m the owner of the Sixers, I cannot commit to giving him a max deal,” Stoudemire told Get Up. “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.”

Stoudemire continued, “If he’s not capable of doing that as a max player, I’m not going to be willing to now give you a max contract if you’re not showing me that you can handle the situation.”

Don’t expect Harden to argue against Stoudemire’s stance, playing defense isn’t really his thing.

 

Follow along on Twitter: @OhioAF

Written by Anthony Farris

Anthony is a former high school basketball intramural champion who played a leading role in creating two offspring. He spends his weekends hoping for an MTV Rock N' Jock revival.

Follow him on twitter @OhioAF

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