What did James Harden have to say about his new deal with the 76ers?
What’s clear is that both franchise and the player are happy with each other. What’s not is, whether or not that will be enough to make them champions.
There is no doubt that the former MVP is still a talented player, but after a less than stellar season can he make good on the faith that’s been invested in him?
76ers’ James Harden opens up about new contract
On Wednesday, news of James Harden’s new two-year contract with the Philadelphia 76ers became official and with that came some a degree of clarity as to where Philly’s franchise is heading. Harden came under fire, for a string of below par performances which culminated in their Eastern Conference semifinals elimination courtesy of the Miami Heat. With all of that said, Harden isn’t looking back. Instead, the one-time Houston Rockets star is only focused on getting back to his best.
“This is where I want to be. This is where I want to win, and I think we have the pieces to accomplish that goal,” Harden said when speaking about the 76ers. “From my first day with the 76ers organization, the team and the fans have helped me feel at home here in Philadelphia. I’m excited to build off of last season and I can’t wait to get out on the court with the guys and start this journey.”
What’s the low down on James Harden’s new deal?
As per reports, Harden’s contract is for two years and worth $68 million, with a player option for the second season. This of course, comes after Harden opted out of his $47 million player option earlier this offseason. Harden would go on to agree to a significant pay cut for the upcoming season in order to help the Sixers build out the rest of the roster. The Sixers used that additional cap space to sign P.J. Tucker and Danuel House (both Harden’s former teammates in Houston), along with Trevelin Queen. Indeed, the 10-time NBA All-Star made it clear that he was intent on winning with the team.
“I had conversations with [Sixers president of basketball operations] Daryl [Morey], and it was explained how we could get better and what the market value was for certain players,” Harden said earlier this month. “I told Daryl to improve the roster, sign who we needed to sign and give me whatever is left over. This is how bad I want to win. I want to compete for a championship. That’s all that matters to me at this stage. I’m willing to take less to put us in position to accomplish that.”
How do the 76ers feel about James Harden?
Given Harden’s sacrifice and the franchise’s commitment to him despite his less-than-ideal campaign and subsequent criticism, it’s fair to say that both parties believe in the other. Will that pay off when the new season tips off? We can only sit and wait to see. In the meantime, there is certainly no shortage of positivity. “I couldn’t be happier with James’ decision to commit to our organization,” Sixers coach Doc Rivers said of Harden’s decision to re-sign. “Over the last two years we have taken major steps toward our ultimate goal of becoming champions. James shares our drive to win a title, and he believes being a 76er gives him the best opportunity to do that. Together, we will work tirelessly to achieve our goal.”
What now for James Harden and the Philadelphia 76ers?
On the one side, James Harden’s decision to stay and moreover accept less money, must be given respect if not admiration. On the other, with the deal not being long term and him hitting free agency next summer, his situation is not without a failsafe. It goes without saying, that neither Harden or the Sixers will be banking on that being the case, but that’s now a question of what they can actually do on the court as opposed to the boardroom. Can the Sixers make good on Harden’s commitment and an upgraded roster? Watch this space.