2022 NBA free agency: James Harden agrees to two-year, .6 million deal with 76ers, according to report

2022 NBA free agency: James Harden agrees to two-year, $68.6 million deal with 76ers, according to 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, traded to the Sixers before last season’s deadline in a blockbuster deal that sent Ben Simmons to the Brooklyn Nets, declined his $47.3 million option for next season to hit free agency. This new deal represents a significant discount on his $34 million annual salary.

Although Harden will lose money in the short term, he should make up for it in the long term. He can opt out now and re-enter free agency next summer when more teams have max cap space and he could make up to $46.5 million per year. He also said he made this decision to help the Sixers win.

“I had a conversation with [team president] Darryl [Morey], and it was explained how we could be better and what the market value was for certain players. I told Daryl to improve the roster, who we need to sign and give me what’s left,” Harden said in a recent interview with Yahoo Sports. “I want to win this bad. 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 a position to get it done.”

A championship is the only major item missing from Harden’s resume. He has been to the conference finals four times in his career, twice with the Oklahoma City Thunder and twice with the Houston Rockets. He’s been to the Finals just once, however — in 2012 with the Thunder, when they lost to LeBron James and the Miami Heat.

While Harden’s teams often lost to better opponents in those series, he also has a history of underperforming in big moments in the playoffs. Last season’s second-round loss to the Miami Heat in six games was the latest example. With Joel Embiid out for the first two games and playing through multiple serious injuries the rest of the way, the Sixers needed Harden to step up. Except for Game 4, he didn’t. He averaged 18.2 points on 40.5 percent shooting for the series and didn’t score in the fourth quarter in Games 5 or 6.

Thanks to Harden’s discount, the Sixers were able to add PJ Tucker, Daniel House and reigning G League MVP Trevelyn Quinn in free agency. They also traded for versatile guard De’Anthony Melton on 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 cast, the Sixers’ fortunes ultimately depend on Harden. If he’s not at his best, they won’t beat either team in a playoff series. Harden, for his part, is confident he can get there and blamed last season’s disappointment on not being 100 percent and joining a new situation.

“I don’t really listen to what people are saying,” Harden said. “I wasn’t good last season and I still averaged almost a triple-double.” “If somebody else had those numbers, we’d talk about getting the most of them. People were used to seeing me average 40, 30 points, and so they looked at it as a down year. I was in Philadelphia for a couple of months. And I had to learn to fly. . 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 his contract situation finally settled, he can now turn his full attention to his goal of bringing Philadelphia a title.

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