By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
James Harden was expected to re-sign with the Philadelphia 76ers all along. He declined his option before the start of free agency.
Harden made it official on Wednesday by re-signing with the 76ers. He has agreed to a two-year, $68.6 million deal with the team.
He will make $33 million for the 2022-23 season. Then, in the second season, which is a player option, he is slated to make $35.6 million.
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With this new agreement, he took a pay cut of nearly $15 million to help give the team flexibility to add players to their roster. This extra money allowed the team to sign P.J. Tucker, Danuel House, and others.
He could give the 76ers even more flexibility moving forward with the player option. Typically, the player opts out of the player option when the opportunity presents itself after the first season.
The former MVP had a down year for his standards. Before the trade to the 76ers, Harden was considered the third fiddle to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving when all three players were in the lineup. However, for the Brooklyn Nets, they played less than 50 games together.
The 32-year-old averaged 21 points per game in 21 starts following the trade to Philadelphia. He was averaging 22.5 points per game in 44 starts with the Nets.
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With the 76ers, Harden does not need to be the prolific scorer that he previously was with the Houston Rockets. For three seasons from 2017-18 through 2019-20, Harden averaged more than 30 points per game.
He averaged a career-high 36.1 points per game during the 2018-19 season.
Following the trade, Harden had two games, where he scored 30 or more points in a game with the 76ers. He scored 32 points against the Milwaukee Bucks on March 29th.
Then, in the playoffs against the Miami Heat, Harden had 31 points in Game 4 of their series.
If Doc Rivers could get Harden to play into his system, then the 76ers could be a title contender. Harden and Rivers clashed towards the end of last season and many believed that he was not giving his best effort because he wanted a coaching change.
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