James Harden will re-sign with the Philadelphia 76ers on a two-year cope with a player option within the second season, in accordance with Shams Charnia. The deal represents a $15 million paycut from the $47.3 million max salary he could have earned on his player option for this season. Harden arrived in Philadelphia on the trade deadline in a blockbuster cope with the Brooklyn Nets for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and draft picks.
While his stint in Philadelphia began off well, the season resulted in extremely disappointing fashion for the previous MVP. His burst seemingly left him after coping with injuries and poor conditioning in Brooklyn, and within the team’s season-ending loss to the Miami Heat, Harden attempted just two shots within the second half because the 76ers were eliminated on their home floor. Considering his age (33 in August), many speculated that Harden now not even warranted a big contract.
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He’s still getting one, however the pay cut he’s taking will allow the 76ers the pliability they should sign former Rockets teammate P.J. Tucker for the non-taxpayer mid-level exception and Danuel House Jr. for the bi-annual exception. Many players talk an enormous game about sacrificing money for winning. Harden is definitely doing it here.
After all, he’s also earning an additional 12 months of economic security with that player option. Each the Nets and Rockets offered Harden long-term extensions, but he declined on each fronts. That allowed him to make his solution to the 76ers, and along with his value declining, taking a multi-year deal even at a slight discount mitigated a number of the risk of further decline.
The 76ers hope that Harden can stave that decline off a little bit while longer. With Tucker and House joining a team that already had MVP candidate Joel Embiid, breakout star Tyrese Maxey and incumbent max player Tobias Harris, a healthy and engaged Harden could still carry them deep into the playoffs. The 76ers have a transient title window in front of them. Harden’s deal helps them maximize it.