James Harden Content in L.A., Aims to Maintain Clippers' Core Team

Clippers' Core Secured with Star Player Commitments.

by Nouman Rasool
James Harden Content in L.A., Aims to Maintain Clippers' Core Team
© Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

In a recent turn of events, James Harden, the seasoned point guard, has expressed his contentment as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers. Having joined the team just a little over two months ago, Harden's happiness with the Clippers' performance has been palpable.

Following their impressive victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder with a score of 128-117, marking their 23rd win in 30 games, the question of Harden's long-term commitment to the Clippers arose. Reflecting on his past experiences, Harden acknowledged his initial optimism with his previous team, the Philadelphia 76ers.

However, his relationship with Sixers' president of basketball operations, Daryl Morey, soured over time, leading to his departure. Harden's journey has brought him to Los Angeles, and he is enthusiastic about the opportunity to keep the Clippers' core team intact for several years, a prospect that has eluded him in recent times.

As he puts it, "But I'm here, home. We have an opportunity. I want to be able to keep the core together for a few years, and I haven't had those opportunities the last few years. So things are going well, and I'm happy."

Star Player Commitments

Harden, currently 34 years old, remains under contract and cannot negotiate a new deal with the Clippers until after the conclusion of the NBA Finals.

His commitment to the team aligns with the intentions of other star players. Kawhi Leonard recently signed a lucrative three-year, $153 million contract extension, opting to accept less than he was eligible for, with the hope of preserving the Clippers' core.

Notably, Paul George, who played a pivotal role in the victory against OKC with an impressive performance of 38 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals, is also eligible for a contract extension. Leonard and George both began the season eligible for a maximum extension of four years and $223 million, highlighting their commitment to the Clippers' future success.

The Clippers' fortunes have seen a remarkable turnaround since the initial challenges following Harden's trade, with a notable 23-7 record since then. Their exceptional 18-4 performance since the beginning of December ranks as the best in the NBA during that period.

Harden's individual statistics with the Clippers have been commendable, with averages of 16.9 points, 8.4 assists, and 4.6 rebounds. It is worth mentioning that Harden, Leonard, George, and Russell Westbrook all hail from the Los Angeles area, sharing a common aspiration to bring an NBA championship to their hometown with the Clippers.

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