In an unsurprising move to begin the offseason, star guard James Harden chose to return to the Philadelphia 76ers are opting out of the final year of his contract.
Harden is reportedly taking a $15 million pay cut to return to the Sixers. During a recent interview with Yahoo Sports‘ Chris Haynes, the 32-year-old voiced that he told general manager Daryl Morey that he would take whatever money was left after the team added talent through free agency.
“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.”
Harden’s decision helped give the 76ers the financial flexibility to add proven talent. Philadelphia signed P.J. Tucker to the non-taxpayer mid-level exception while inking Danuel House to the bi-annual exception and traded for De’Anthony Melton.
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The 76ers added some much-needed depth that could help pay off in their push toward NBA title contention. Meanwhile, Harden still maintains his flexibility in his NBA future with essentially a one-year contract with the chance to test the open market next summer if he desired.
The 76ers will field a more formidable roster that will have added pressure to contend.