Sixers: Harden praises Embiid and targets NBA championship
James Harden left the Rockets to win a title with the Nets. Having now moved again, he believes he can achieve his goal with the 76ers.
James Harden is confident it "made sense" for him to leave the Brooklyn Nets for the Philadelphia 76ers in his pursuit of a first NBA championship.
Harden headed to Philly ahead of last week's trade deadline in a move that saw wantaway 76ers outcast Ben Simmons head in the opposite direction.
Ten-time All-Star Harden had been expected to contend for titles in Brooklyn, having formed a 'Big Three' with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving when he arrived from the Houston Rockets last year.
But injuries and coronavirus controversy – Irving remains unvaccinated – meant the trio played just 365 minutes together across 16 games in the regular season and playoffs.
Now, Harden is instead targeting glory alongside Joel Embiid, the MVP frontrunner who endured a frosty relationship with Simmons on the 76ers.
Embiid has scored 25 or more points in 23 consecutive games – a sequence only three players have topped this century – including a 40-point triple-double last time out.
Harden: " I needed to be around guys that I know want to win"
Harden is excited by the prospect of teaming up with the center, as he said: "For me, [the trade] made sense, man.
"It's a time where I needed to be around guys that I know want to win, and know that they are willing to do whatever it takes to win, and the structure here is unbelievable.
"[Winning is] the goal, man. That's the goal. Like Daryl [Morey, president of basketball operations] said: the opportunity to win is now. Joel is playing the best he's ever played.
"So, my job is to come out there and help him and help the entire team win a championship this year and in years going forward."
Harden left the Rockets for the Nets with the same idea but is now focused on a positive future.
"I mean, it wasn't planned like this – 14 months ago, I didn't see myself with three different teams," he said. "But we are here today and I'm happy.
"The last year has been a lot of ups and downs, a lot of stress, but whatever. That's in the past. I'm excited, I'm healthy and it's the opportunity of a lifetime."
The former MVP added his injured hamstring, which will keep him out until after the All-Star break, "feels really good".
Harden was speaking alongside Morey – formerly his general manager in Houston – who expressed his delight the 76ers had managed to land their man without dealing promising point guard Tyrese Maxey.
"Tyrese absolutely has the chance to be an All-Star in this league," said Morey, adding "the sky's the limit" for both Maxey and Matisse Thybulle. "And that's a big reason why we made sure that they weren't in this trade."
To be able to comment you must be registered and logged in. Forgot password?