2022 NBA free agency: James Harden agrees to a $ 68.6 million two-year deal with the 76ers, per report

2022 NBA free agency: James Harden agrees to a $ 68.6 million two-year deal with the 76ers, per report

After weeks of negotiations, All-Star guard James Harden has agreed to return to the Philadelphia 76ers on a two-year deal worth $ 68.6 million. according to Adrian Wojnarowski. Harden will have a player option for the second year.

Harden, who was traded to the Sixers before last season’s deadline in a blockbuster deal that sent Ben Simmons to the Brooklyn Nets, rejected the $ 47.3 million option for next season to get free agency. His annual salary of around $ 34 million for this new deal represents a significant discount.

While Harden will lose money in the short term, he should make up for it in the long run. He will now be able to opt out and join the free agency again next summer when more teams will have maximum space and he can earn up to $ 46.5 million per year. He also said he made this decision to help the Sixers win.

‘I had conversations with [team president] Daryl [Morey], and it was explained how we could get better and what the market value was for some players. I asked Daryl to improve the roster, sign who we needed to sign and give me what’s left over, “Harden said in a recent interview with Yahoo Sports.” 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 am willing to take less to put us in a position to achieve that. “

A championship is the only major element missing in Harden’s CV. He has been to the conference finals four times in his career, twice with the Oklahoma City Thunder and twice with the Houston Rockets. Only once, however, did he reach the final – 2012 with the Thunder, when they lost to LeBron James and the Miami Heat.

While Harden’s team often lost to better opponents in these series, he also has a history of underperforming in great moments in the playoffs. Last season’s loss in the second round against the Miami Heat in six games was the latest example. With Joel Embiid out for the first two games, playing through several serious injuries the rest of the way, the Sixers needed Harden to go up. Aside from Game 4, he did not. He averaged 18.2 points on 40.5 percent shooting for the series and did not score in the fourth quarter in Game 5 or 6.

Thanks to Harden’s discount, the Sixers were able to add PJ Tucker, Danuel House and reigning G League MVP Trevelin Queen to the free agency. They also switched to the versatile guard De’Anthony Melton on the draft night. With these additions and a healthy Embiid, the Sixers will have a chance to compete with the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks at the top of the Eastern Conference.

But even with a better supporting role, the Sixers’ fate ultimately depends on Harden. They will not be able to beat either or both of these teams in a playoff series if he is not at his best. Harden for his part is sure he can get there, and blamed last season’s disappointment for not being 100 percent and joining a new situation.

“I do not really listen to what people say. I was not right last season, and I still had almost a triple double on average,” said Harden. “If anyone else had these numbers, we would talk about them getting the max. People were used to seeing me on average 40, 30 points, and so they looked at it as a downturn. I was in Philadelphia for a couple of months. “And I had to learn on the go. That’s exactly what it was. I’m in a good place physically and mentally right now, and I’m just looking forward to next season.”

With the contract situation finally settled, he can now turn his full attention to the goal of giving Philadelphia a title.

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