One NBA executive believes James Harden is no longer a “max, alpha status” player in the NBA.

Via Steve Bulpett from

“From our conversations, what James is looking for is someone to pay him at a rate that he thinks that he's worth, which he's not,” the Eastern Conference executive said. So James is in that unfortunate circumstance that we talk about all the time. Who's the last person to know it's over? The player. His status as a max, alpha player in this league, it's over. He can't produce wins.”

Harden has a $35.6 million player option for the 2023-24 season. He is expected to not pick it up and look for a multi-year contract with a higher salary. He has been linked to the Houston Rockets, who he played for from 2012 to 2021.

The executive in the story said Harden can still contribute for a team.

“He can get numbers; he can help a team,” the executive reportedly said. “But he's not a max player anymore.”

James Harden led the NBA with 10.7 assists per game last season. He also averaged 21.0 points and 6.1 rebounds. The Philadelphia 76ers and Harden advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals, falling to the Boston Celtics in seven games.

Harden struggled in two closeout opportunities. He had 13 points on 4-of-16 shooting in Game 6 at home. In Game 7, he had nine points on 3-of-11 shooting with five turnovers.

The Rockets seem to be in a rebuilding phase, but they hired former Celtics coach Ime Udoka, who is seen as a piece who could take Houston out of the bottom of the NBA standings.