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James Harden, 76ers agree to two-year, $68.6 million contract

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James Harden, 76ers agree to two-year, $68.6 million contract
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James Harden and the 76ers have agreed to a two-year, $68.6 million contract. This deal includes a $35.6 million player option in the second year. Harden declined his $47.4 million player option last month. Then, he mentioned to president of basketball operations Daryl Morey to sign any players the team needed to improve, and Harden would have whatever is left.

Now, the 10-time All-Star will earn $33 million for the 2022-23 season. The guard will become a free agent next summer. On the other hand, he could also negotiate a new deal. Based on his performances from last season, the 76ers are demanding higher output. Morey and G.M. Elton Brand were hesitant to offer Harden a max deal this offseason. Though, the guard could sign a supermax contract in 2023.

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James Harden has to play better in the 2022-23 NBA season

In the 2021-22 NBA season, in 65 games played, Harden averaged 22 points, 7.7 rebounds, 10.3 assists and 1.2 steals per game. While these numbers are still decent, the guard hasn’t averaged 30 points per game since his 2019-20 season with the Rockets. If the three-time scoring champ is going to slack off on defense, he needs to score more points.

Moreover, in the Nets’ 120-112 win over the Pelicans on Nov. 12, 2021, Harden scored a season-high 39 points in 38 minutes played. He shot 11-for-18 from the field and 6-for-10 from 3-point range. Weeks later, in the Nets’ 124-108 win against the Clippers on Dec. 27, the guard tied his season high in scoring with 39 points.

During the 2022 NBA Playoffs, Harden averaged 18.6 points, 5.7 rebounds and 8.6 assists per game. The last time he failed to average at least 20 points per game in the playoffs was back with the Thunder in the 2011-12 season. Not to mention, he shot 40.5% from the field, an eight-year low.

In Game 4 of the second round of the playoffs, the 13-year veteran scored 31 points in the 76ers’ 116-108 win against the Heat. However, James Harden went on to score 14 points in the following game and 11 points in Game 6.

Dating back to 2020, his scoring averages in the playoffs have dwindled. Until he proves his worth, why would any general manager offer a declining player — who’s also turning 33 next month — a max contract?

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76ers’ offseason trades and signings

Furthermore, in addition to re-signing James Harden, the 76ers have made several offseason moves. P.J. Tucker signed a three-year, $30 million contract with the team at the start of free agency. In other news, the league is investigating the Sixers for tampering. Tucker would have signed a deal with Philadelphia in mid-June, if he could get away with it. If the team makes an NBA Finals appearance next season, fans will approve of this signing.

Earlier this month, the Sixers signed forward Danuel House as well. But the terms of his contract were not disclosed. House averaged 5.9 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1 assist with the Jazz last season. Morey commented on this signing: “Danuel is a very talented two-way player who immediately bolsters our wing depth and strengthens our roster.”

Additionally, in June, the Grizzlies traded De’Anthony Melton to the 76ers for Danny Green and David Roddy. In the 2021-22 season, Melton averaged 10.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game with Memphis. Plus, he averaged 40.4% shooting from the floor and 37.4% from beyond the arc. More articles pertaining to James Harden or the 76ers are on the main page.

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James is a Basketball Insiders contributor. He earned his bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. James enjoys watching sports and helping gamblers win money.

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