The Philadelphia 76ers have agreed to a two-year, $68.6 million deal with James Harden, with the second year being a player option. Harden took the pay cut to help the team improve on the fringes, so we’ll see if he opts out next year to try to make up for it on the open market in 2023.
Free agent James Harden has agreed on a two-year, $68.6M deal, including a player option, to return to the 76ers, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 20, 2022
James Harden is heading into his 14th season in the league, having spent the majority of his career with the Houston Rockets. He was drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2009, but was traded to Houston in 2012, where he spent nearly nine seasons before being traded to the Nets in 2020. He famously made a move to the Philadelphia 76ers in February of last season in a blockbuster trade that saw Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, and Andre Drummond head to Brooklyn in exchange for the former MVP. Paired with Joel Embiid, the Sixers were set to be a powerhouse in the postseason, but made an exit in the Eastern Conference Semifinals at the hands of the Miami Heat.
It was rumored for a while that Harden would opt in to his $47 million player option followed by an extension, but he ultimately declined as he looked to take his talents elsewhere. He’s not as explosive as he used to be offensively, and struggled in the playoff series against the Heat as he averaged just 18.2 points, 7.0 assists, and 6.3 rebounds along with 4.8 turnovers per game. Turning 33 in August, he’s entering what will likely be the last few years of his career, so it will be interesting to see if the 10-time All-Star can finally find his way to a championship with his new team.