James Harden comments on taking pay cut to stay with 76ers
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James Harden says Philadelphia is the place where he wants to be and he is happy to have reached a contract agreement with the 76ers. Harden, who was traded to the 76ers prior to this year's trade deadline, signed a two-year, $68.6 million contract - which includes a player option for the 2023/24 season.
"This is where I want to be. This is where I want to win, and I think we have the pieces to accomplish that goal," Harden said in a statement, per ESPN. "From my first day with the 76ers organization, the team and the fans have helped me feel at home here in Philadelphia.
I'm excited to build off of last season and I can't wait to get out on the court with the guys and start this journey." Earlier this offseason, Harden suggested he was willing to help the 76ers by taking a pay cut. When the time came for the two sides to sit down and talk, Harden agreed to take less money and to give the 76ers more chance of adding quality roster pieces.
"Taking less money this year to sign as many players as we needed to help us contend and be the last team standing was very, very important to me," Harden told The Associated Press. "I wanted to show the organization, the Sixers fans and everybody else who supports what we're trying to accomplish, what I'm trying to accomplish individually, that this is what I'm about."
Harden wants to win his first NBA ring
The 76ers went hard after Harden once it became clear the Brooklyn Nets were willing to move him.
Harden and Joel Embiid failed to win the title in their first postseason together, but the team is optimistic they will do it next year. "Over the last two years we have taken major steps toward our ultimate goal of becoming champions," 76ers head coach Doc Rivers.
"James shares our drive to win a title, and he believes being a 76er gives him the best opportunity to do that. Together, we will work tirelessly to achieve our goal." After the 76ers' playoff run ended with a loss to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Embiid made it clear he wanted a more aggressive Harden.
Going forward, Harden wants to return to the level of basketball that was once making him an MVP candidate. "Coming back and being the aggressor, the scorer first and then the playmaker, is something that I need for myself," he said.