James Harden is returning to the Philadelphia 76ers at an extremely team-friendly discount. The 10-time All-Star is leaving $15 million on the table to sign a two-year deal with a player option in Year 2, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Harden declined his $47.3 million player option for the 2022-23 season with the intention of helping the Sixers rebuild their roster. The team started that process by inking P.J. Tucker, Danuel House, and Trevelin Queen, while rumors of more marquee signings picking up steam. Harden has one goal this year: to win a championship.
“Everyone around Harden has understood the focus on his workout regimen this offseason and a championship goal for 2022-23,” Charania wrote. “His close relationships with those around the organization, including Michael Rubin and Daryl Morey, played a major role in trust between the two sides.”
Several videos have popped up this offseason showing Harden’s renewed dedication to conditioning. He has looked “slim and trim” in workouts, including taking the necessary steps to get his body right. Harden appears committed to reporting to Sixers’ training camp in tip-top shape. Remember, the 2018 MVP has also been dealing with a nagging hamstring injury dating back to the 2021-22 season.
“It was a little frustrating because I’m not used to going through something like that, but it is what it is,” Harden told reporters on May 12. “And I’m just happy to be healthy now. I’ve got a full summer to be straight and do the things necessary to come back even better next year.”
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Isaiah Joe Shines in Summer League Play
The Sixers wrapped up the first leg of summer league action with an 80-79 victory over the Thunder in Salt Lake City. Paul Reed dominated once again – why is he even playing this summer? – but the star of the night was Isaiah Joe.
The third-year guard scored 19 points while shooting 4-of-6 from deep, including the game-winning triple with 25 seconds left. Joe also flashed serious chops at the defensive end, something that could earn him a spot in Doc Rivers’ rotation as a 3-and-D wing player. Meanwhile, Reed finished with 14 points and seven rebounds. Jaden Springer had 11 points and Julian Champagnie added four points. The Sixers head to Las Vegas next.
New Details on Tucker’s Three-Year Contract
P.J. Tucker’s decision to leave the Miami Heat for the Sixers caused a stir on social media, particularly from former teammate Jimmy Butler. The back-and-forth on Twitter appeared to be in good fun despite the NSFW language.
Either way, Tucker will wear a Sixers uniform this season and more details on his three-year, $33 million have leaked out. According to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, the third year is a player option. That means Tucker can decide to opt in or out on June 29, 2024. He’ll be 39 years old at that time.
“P.J. Tucker is one of the most respected and relentless competitors in our game and is the type of competitor our fans will love and embrace,” Sixers president Daryl Morey said in a press release. “We’re excited to add his leadership, toughness, defensive versatility and championship pedigree to our roster.”