The Philadelphia 76ers had an energetic offseason, retaining their core group however working diligently to improve their depth round them. Protecting James Harden was an important a part of the summer season, however how a lot cash he took would dictate simply how a lot they’d have the ability to provide free brokers to improve the roster.
Harden, for his half, took a pay minimize off of what he might’ve made, declining his $47 million participant possibility to take a two-year, $64 million deal (with a participant possibility for 2023-24). Taking lower than he might’ve made subsequent 12 months allowed Philly to exit and signal PJ Tucker, including the tenacious defender Joel Embiid and firm desperately wished, and so they used the remainder so as to add Danuel Home (as Daryl Morey continues to get the band again collectively from his Houston days) and Trevelin Queen on smaller offers, whereas flipping the injured Danny Inexperienced to Memphis together with a primary for De’Anthony Melton.
Having a star participant with that a lot belief within the entrance workplace, after lower than a 12 months with the group, to take much less and belief that the appropriate deal would get labored out is a rarity, however Harden and Morey’s observe document going again to the Rockets days allowed for that form of dialogue. It additionally helps that Harden is at a stage in his profession the place he’s most targeted on successful, as he informed Chris Haynes of Yahoo that his message to Morey was easy: spend what you must spend and provides me what’s left.
“I had conversations with Daryl, and it was defined how we might get higher and what the market worth was for sure gamers. I informed Daryl to enhance the roster, signal who we would have liked to signal and provides me no matter is left over,” Harden informed Yahoo Sports activities. “That is how unhealthy I wish to win. I wish to compete for a championship. That’s all that issues to me at this stage. I’m prepared to take much less to place us in place to perform that.”
It’s an admirable place from Harden, and one which the Sixers determine to learn from (offered, in fact, Harden is again at full power for a full 12 months). Whereas he did take much less within the brief time period, there may be some benefit on his finish to signing the two-year deal in Philly that ensures him the flexibility to choose up a $32 million possibility subsequent summer season ought to he proceed to wrestle with the hamstring harm that has hampered him the previous two seasons. Coloring Harden’s resolution as a very altruistic one can be disingenuous, however he definitely put his cash the place his mouth is in the case of guaranteeing the Sixers might spend to improve the roster and that’s commendable. We’ll learn how a lot floor the Sixers made up on the remainder of the East’s greatest this coming season, and whereas the brand new additions are good, a lot of the stress lies on the shoulders of Harden to be higher come playoff time.