Sixers and James Harden agree to two-year deal

James Harden is re-signing with the Sixers on a $68.6MM, two-year deal that includes a player option in the second year, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter) that Harden will earn $33 million in 2022/23 and the player option is worth $35.6 million for ’23/24. The former league MVP will have a chance to enter free agency again next summer and possibly negotiate another contract.

It was considered inevitable that Harden would re-sign with Philadelphia, it was just a matter of when, not if. By agreeing to a one plus one contract structure, he will also give you veto power on any changes during the 22/23 league year.

According to John Hollinger of The Athletic (Twitter link), with Harden on board at $33MM, the Sixers are roughly $3.4MM under the fiscal apron for ’22/23. The 76ers incurred a maximum cap when they signed P.J. Tucker with the full midlevel exception and Danuel House with the biannual exception, so they cannot exceed the $156,983,000 tax break at any time during the league year.

Both players were signed because of the flexibility Harden gave Philadelphia when he took a pay cut; he previously declined his $47.4MM player option to sign a new deal. Harden recently explained the reasoning behind his decision to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

“I had conversations with (president of basketball operations) Daryl (Morey), and they explained to me how we could improve 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 was left over,” Harden said. “This is how much I want to win. I want to compete for a championship. That’s all I care about at this stage. I am willing to take less to put ourselves in a position to achieve that.”

Harden, who turns 33 next month, had an offseason by his lofty standards, appearing in 65 regular-season games (37.2 MPG) while averaging 22.0 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 10.3 APG and 1.3 SPG at .410/.333. /.877 shooting. Those averages dropped to 18.6 PPG, 5.7 RPG and 8.6 APG while shooting .405/.368/.893 in 12 postseason games (39.9 MPG) with the Sixers last season.

He was reportedly hampered by a hamstring injury for much of the season, the same problem that plagued him in the playoffs last year with Brooklyn. Harden requested a trade from the Nets before the February trade deadline in a deal that sent Ben Simmons, Seth Curry and other assets to Brooklyn.

When Harden officially signs his new deal, Philly will have 12 players on the 15-man roster signed to guaranteed deals, as our roster tally shows. He was ranked No. 3 on our Top 50 Free Agents list this summer.