The biggest storyline surrounding the Philadelphia 76ers this offseason has been the developments regarding James Harden. After declining his $47 million player option for next year, the former MVP is taking a massive pay cut for the betterment of the team.
Thanks to this act of selflessness from Harden, the Sixers were able to go out and make much-needed additions to the roster. Some of the key moves include the signings of P.J. Tucker and Danuel House Jr. At this point in his career, winning is what’s most important to Harden. Flanked by Joel Embiid and rising star Tyrese Maxey, he is eager to chase the championship ring that has eluded him throughout his career.
Recently, Harden sat down with Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports for an exclusive interview. It was there he dove into the conversation he had with Daryl Morey regarding his contract situation. He put himself on the back burner and told the front office to prioritize bolstering the supporting cast.
I had conversations with Daryl, and it was explained how we could get better and what the market value was for certain players. I told Daryl to improve the roster, sign who we needed to sign and give me whatever is left over,” Harden told Yahoo Sports. “This is how bad I want to win. I want to compete for a championship. That’s all that matters to me at this stage. I’m willing to take less to put us in position to accomplish that.
In his first stint with the Sixers, Harden averaged 21.0 PPG, 7.1 RPG, and 10.5 APG across 21 regular-season matchups. Despite the frenzy of free agent signings coming and going, he has still yet to officially sign a new deal with Philly.
James Harden Unfazed by The Outside Noise
For most of the year, the narrative around James Harden was that father time was finally catching up to him. After dealing with hamstring injuries during his time in Brooklyn, it appeared the 32-year-old was beginning to lose a step physically. Harden told Haynes he has blocked out all the outside noise and is fully dedicated to getting back to his old self this upcoming season.
I don’t really listen to what people are saying. I wasn’t right last season and I still almost averaged a triple-double,” Harden told Yahoo Sports. “If anybody else had those numbers, we’d be talking about them getting the max. People were used to seeing me averaging 40, 30 points, and so they viewed it as a down year. I was in Philadelphia for a couple of months and I had to learn on the fly. That’s just what it was. I’m in a good space physically and mentally right now, and I’m just looking forward to next season.
Fans React to James Harden’s Uplifting Comments
Sixers fans have already been chomping at the bit to see this team in action, and Harden’s latest comments only magnified their desires. They quickly rushed to social media to show the star guard love following his inspiring comments.
It’s very rare for a star player to leave so much earning potential on the table. But Harden seems fully focused on helping deliver an NBA championship to the city of Philadelphia.