When James Harden opted out of his contract with the Philadelphia 76ers, there was a widespread belief he would be re-signing with the franchise on a longer-term deal.
Nothing seems to have changed on that front, as both parties appear to be committed to each other heading into next season. However, you may be wondering why negotiations are taking so long, and if both Harden and the Sixers still plan to extend their partnership.
According to ESPN’S Adrian Wojnarowski, Harden has been working with the team, allowing them to improve their roster before sitting down for his own contract negotiations – thus providing them the financial flexibility required to rebuild an imbalanced roster.
“James Harden has essentially sat down with the Sixers leadership and talked about a way to improve their roster. You’ve seen the commitments they’ve had from PJ Tucker, from Danuel House, and to be able to go out and get some ancillary pieces here in free agency for Harden to opt-out of his contract and now do a new deal that allows the financial flexibility in Philly for he and Joel Embiid to essentially improve the supporting cast. But you can expect Harden, his representatives, Daryl Morey in Philly to really sit down and hammer that deal out here,” Wojnarowski said on a July 5 episode of Inside the NBA.
Sixers Expected to Make More Additions
According to a June 30 report by ESPN’S Brian Windhorst, the Sixers are expected to be one of the more active teams this off-season – both in free agency and in the trade market.
We’ve already seen Morey and the front office acquire PJ Tucker and Danuel House, but with Tobias Harris and Matisse Thybulle both still on the roster, there is a legitimate chance the Sixers continue to explore potential trades in the coming weeks.
“By the way, they’ve been all over the place in trade talks. They’re talking about Matisse Thybulle, they’re talking about Tobias Harris, they’re talking to all kinds of teams. I got all kinds of things on my phone about where they’re potentially going with players in the next three to seven days. Maybe they do a deal, maybe they don’t. But they’re going to bring in three to five new players. It was opened up by Harden willing to do this,” Windhorst said.
Harden ‘Focused on Winning a Title’ With Philadelphia
While there may have been certain subsections of the fanbase that were worried when Harden opted out of his contract, the narrative from both the media and the team, is that the superstar guard is committed to helping Philadelphia raise a banner.
“James Harden has told them he wants to win. He’s committed to winning, and I think there’s a playbook here now for the Sixers and James Harden to work together and find a way to get James Harden a new deal in Philly and improve that roster. At the end of the day, I think James Harden is going to be in Philly. He’s going to be there on a new deal,” Adrian Wojnarowski said during a June 29 episode of SportsCenter.
Harden, who joined the Sixers via mid-season trade with the Brooklyn Nets, will turn 33 during the upcoming season, and despite all of his individual accolades, it’s clear the opportunity to win a championship is a driving factor for him. ‘The Beard’ has lived up to his side of the bargain, opting out to provide flexibility to the front office, and now, once he re-signs, you can be sure he’ll be on a mission to finally be crowned an NBA Champion.