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James Harden to hire full-time agent for first time since 2017

The Beard has an eye on his next contract negotiations.

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New York Knicks v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

In reporting from The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden will be hiring Troy Payne as his agent, the first time since 2017 the 33-year-old will have a full-time agent.

Here’s additional information on the new partnership, per the report from Charania:

“Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden will be represented by Troy Payne, a former Adidas executive who is partnering with agents Mike Silverman and Brandon Grier to lead Equity Basketball. Payne, Silverman and Grier are now the agents for Harden, who signed a two-year contract with the 76ers last offseason and has the ability to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

For Harden, the new representation marks his first full-time agency partnership since 2017, when his then-agent Rob Pelinka left the space to become the general manager of the Los Angeles Lakers. Payne, who was selected in the NBA D-League (now G League) Draft in 2011 and played for the National Basketball League’s New Zealand team in 2013-14, served as an Adidas executive from 2016 to 2022.”

The move makes sense from Harden’s perspective. When he was a perennial MVP candidate, he was going to get a max contract. Not too much there to negotiate. Why give someone four percent of those earnings? With a player option approaching this summer that could have him entering free agency, the next contract negotiation Harden undergoes will likely be more nuanced.

James is still currently playing at a high level and should have been an All-Star this season (if you ask most Philadelphians). However, his age and recent history of lower body injuries will likely necessitate some back-and-forth between the two sides on his next deal, both in terms of dollar amounts and contract length. Harden famously took a paycut last summer to enable Sixers management to better bolster the roster around him and Joel Embiid in their search for a championship. Hiring an agent may signal such an altruistic paycut may not be part of the next negotiation.

Still, I wouldn’t adjust any expectations of Harden returning to Philadelphia simply based on this news. The connection with President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey still remains and relationships between Harden and the Sixers coaching staff and teammates have been primarily positive. I’m sure whatever he decides in the future will be based upon his outlook for the team’s title prospects and the compensation offered. I wouldn’t worry about whether or not he has official representation.

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