It seems like it was just yesterday when James Harden was in the prime of his career. During his highly successful stint with the Houston Rockets, Harden won an MVP award along with three straight scoring titles. His innovative step-back jumper from behind the three-point line was heralded as one of the most unstoppable moves in the history of the NBA's shot-clock era. But unfortunately for Harden, he hasn't aged nearly as gracefully as the way in which he used to get to the foul line.

His athleticism has eroded and along with that, his mind-blowing stats, his attitude, and his work ethic. According to multiple sources close to the Brooklyn Nets, that is the glaring notion that his former teammate, Kyrie Irving, brought to his attention during their spirited one-on-one match-up in practice together.

Apparently, Irving is not the only person with ties to Harden's former team that has criticized his commitment to the game of basketball. In a recent appearance on an ESPN morning talk show called "Get Up," former Brooklyn Nets assistant coach Amar'e Stoudemire chimed in on the status of Harden's impending max contract negotiations by indicating that he would not pay his former co-worker the $227 million that he is eligible for this summer. 

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

James Harden's scoring numbers have dipped every year since he averaged a career-high 36.1 points per game during the 2018-19 regular season. In his 21 regular-season games with the 76ers this year, Harden shot career lows in his three-point percentage and field goal percentage. So, perhaps Stoudemire has a point. But because the 76ers traded away Ben Simmons and Seth Curry in order to acquire him, it may not be in their best interest to allow him to leave via free agency.

It looks like the James Harden and the Philadelphia 76ers are headed for a bit of a financial conundrum this summer. For more on this story, click the link below.