The Sixers have had an excellent offseason, making a few new additions to strengthen their defense, wing play, and depth. Most importantly, as was always expected to be the case heading into free agency, they’ve re-signed James Harden. He’s staying put on a new two-year, $68.6 million contract.
It took a while for that new contract to be agreed to, but it was finally confirmed last week and now the team has made it official. Today, the Sixers announced that they’ve re-signed Harden.
“This is where I want to be,” Harden said, via the team’s press release. “This is where I want to win, and I think we have the pieces to accomplish that goal. 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.”
Harden’s willingness to take a major pay cut for next season has made a huge difference for the Sixers this offseason. He chose to opt out of his $47.4 million player option for 2022-23 and instead re-sign with a salary of $33 million for next season. Harden taking $14.4 million less for next year allowed the Sixers to create enough cap space to access the full non taxpayer mid-level exception to sign P.J. Tucker, and the bi-annual exception to sign Danuel House Jr.
Tucker is obviously the team’s top signing, but both players will help give the Sixers some much needed wing defense, extra versatility, and two-way play that can be counted upon in the playoffs. With the addition of De’Anthony Melton as well, the Sixers have made some valuable upgrades to address some of their weaknesses.
“James Harden is one of the greatest players in NBA history and a future Hall of Famer,” Daryl Morey said in the team’s announcement. “His mission is to win an NBA title and we’re thrilled that he will continue that journey here in Philadelphia. He is one of the best scorers and passers to ever play, and his knowledge of the game allows him to dissect defenses and make everyone around him better. James’ commitment to winning continues to resonate throughout our organization, and I believe we’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible in his partnership with Joel and this talented roster. This is an exciting time for our franchise.”
We’ll have to wait and see exactly how he performs next season, but reporting about Harden’s offseason so far has indicated that he’s taking his training and conditioning seriously. You certainly can’t question his commitment to helping the Sixers improve their roster by taking less money. If he can get in the best shape possible and benefit from being further removed from the hamstring issues he’s dealt with, that will likely be more important than anything else in helping the Sixers reach their potential next season.
For now, though, Philly can just be excited about Harden’s new, team-friendly contract and the revamped, deeper roster they’ve built around him and Joel Embiid.
It’s been a good summer for the Sixers.