This NBA offseason, one of the most shocking moves was Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden declining his $47 million player option to restructure a more team-friendly deal. In doing so, Daryl Morey was able to bolster the supporting cast around the All-Star point guard and Joel Embiid.
After a long wait, the Sixers and Harden recently agreed on a two-year, $68.6 million deal. At this point in his career, the former MVP is fully-focused on chasing the championship ring that has eluded him all these years.
Since the deal became official, many have applauded Harden for prioritizing the betterment of his team over himself. However, one former NBA All-Star was not pleased by his decision.
During a recent episode of his ‘No Chill’ podcast, Gilbert Arenas shared his thoughts on Harden’s contract. He feels a player should never take less money to make life easier for an owner.
“Don’t take no pay cut to win, that ain’t your job,” said Arenas. “That is not your job to take a pay cut to win. You got to remember, you’re a millionaire taking a pay cut for a billionaire. That don’t even sound right.”
Gilbert Arenas played 11 seasons in the NBA as a member of the Golden State Warriors, Washington Wizards, Orlando Magic, and Memphis Grizzlies. In that time, he accumulated $163.4 million in career earnings.
Jay Williams Believes James Harden Can Lead Sixers to Success
Over the past two years, a narrative has formed around James Harden that Father Time is catching up to him. Hamstring injuries dating back to his time with the Brooklyn Nets has slowed him down, but this summer, he vowed to get himself back into elite shape.
Following their flurry of offseason additions, thoughts on where the Sixers rank in the Eastern Conference is a mixed bag of responses. One person who strongly believes in them and Harden is ESPN’s Jay Williams. The former second overall pick recently opened up on why he feels there’s been a change in demeanor from the star guard.
The drive I’m starting to feel from James Harden is different. I’m just seeing the vibes kind of change… I’m seeing him kind of say things from a leadership perspective where I’m like ‘okay James.’ You’re working out now, I’m hearing about you buying into getting your body right… I see them in the upper echelon.
Sixers Fans Getting Excited Over James Harden Workout Clips
Along with saying all the right things, James Harden has backed it up with his actions. Over the past few weeks, countless videos have surfaced of him training vigorously this offseason. He has even spent some time working out with Tyrese Maxey and assistant coach Sam Cassell.
With each new clip that comes out, Sixers fans gets more and more excited about what Harden is going to do in his first full season in Philadelphia.
In his first stint with the Sixers, Harden posted averages of 21.0 PPG, 7.1 RPG, and 10.5 APG. Between improving physically and the cast of players around him getting better, everything is in place for him to silence his doubters and help lead his team to a championship.