Doc Rivers Talks ‘Major Steps’ After James Harden Inks Sixers Contract

James Harden, Doc Rivers

Getty James Harden was introduced at a press conference on February 15, 2022. He'll wear No. 1 for the Sixers.

The Beard is back. Well, officially. The Philadelphia 76ers announced the return of James Harden on Wednesday in a press release where the 10-time All-Star described why he wanted to come back.

Much has already been reported: Harden took $14.4 million less in salary so the team could sign other talented players and build a championship-caliber roster. Which they did. Harden is focused on winning a title and he believes the Sixers give him the best opportunity to do that. That’s the rub. That’s why he’s back.

“This is where I want to be. This is where I want to win, and I think we have the pieces to accomplish that goal,” Harden said in a press release. “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 struggled at times during his debut season in Philly, especially in Game 6 of the Miami Heat series when he attempted just two shots in the second half. He averaged 21 points per game in the regular season while dealing with a nagging hamstring injury. He’s ready to put that – and the drama from his failed Brooklyn experiment – behind him. Championship vibes moving forward as he grows alongside Joel Embiid.

“When you have two of the top players at their positions on the same team, that’s a great building block,” Harden told Yahoo! Sports. “We’re going to grow together and try to lead this team to the top. I believe we can do it together.”

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Doc Rivers: ‘Major Steps Toward Ultimate Goal’

Some people may forget that Harden still posted 11 triple-doubles during the 2021-22 season, third-most in the NBA. And he did it in only 65 games. Needless to say, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers was thrilled to learn about Harden’s decision to run it back.

“I couldn’t be happier with James’ decision to commit to our organization,” Rivers said in a press release. “Over the last two years we have taken major steps toward our ultimate goal of becoming champions. “James shares our drive to win a title, and he believes being a 76er gives him the best opportunity to do that. Together, we will work tirelessly to achieve our goal.”

That shared vision stems from the top of the organization. Top executive Daryl Morey – arguably the president of the James Harden fan club – was instrumental in orchestrating the trade for his BFF. The band is officially back together.

“James Harden is one of the greatest players in NBA history and a future Hall of Famer,” Morey said. “His mission is to win an NBA title and we’re thrilled that he will continue that journey here in Philadelphia.”

Sixers Lose Key Executive to Thunder

The Sixers are losing a key executive in their personnel department. Vince Rozman – Vice President of Scouting/Assistant GM – is leaving for the Oklahoma City Thunder, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Rozman was a trusted voice in the Sixers’ front office and started with the organization as an intern in 2006. He has been credited for finding under-the-radar talent like Tyrese Maxey and Paul Reed.

Rozman was widely considered a “fast-rising executive” around the league, especially after his ascension to assistant general manager in Philly. Morey spoke highly of him during a 2021 interview.

“Vince has spent the past 15-plus years climbing the ladder within our organization in a multitude of different roles and has proven himself to be one of the NBA’s fast-rising executives,” Morey told Lauren Rosen. “Vince’s appointment to assistant general manager is well-deserved and hard-earned. We’re thrilled for him as he steps into this new position.”

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