JULY 27: Harden’s new contract is official, the Sixers announced on Twitter.
“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,” he said in a statement. “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.”
Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter) that Harden will earn $33MM in 2022/23 and the player option is worth $35.6MM for ’23/24. The former league MVP will have the opportunity to enter free agency again next summer and possibly negotiate another contract.
It was viewed as inevitable that Harden would re-sign with Philadelphia, it was only a matter of when, not if. By agreeing to a one-plus-one contract structure, it will also give him veto power on any trade during the ’22/23 league year.
According to John Hollinger of The Athletic (Twitter link), with Harden on board at $33MM, the Sixers are approximately $3.4MM below the tax apron for ’22/23. The 76ers incurred a hard cap when they signed P.J. Tucker to the full mid-level exception and Danuel House to the bi-annual exception, so they cannot exceed the $156,983,000 tax apron at any point during the league year.
Both players were signed due to the flexibility Harden gave Philadelphia when he agreed to 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 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 said. “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, who turns 33 next month, had a down season by his lofty standards, appearing in 65 regular season games (37.2 MPG) with averages of 22.0 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 10.3 APG and 1.3 SPG on .410/.333/.877 shooting. Those averages dipped to 18.6 PPG, 5.7 RPG and 8.6 APG on .405/.368/.893 shooting 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 issue that plagued him in the playoffs last year with Brooklyn. Harden famously requested a trade from the Nets ahead of the deadline in February in a deal that sent Ben Simmons, Seth Curry and other assets to Brooklyn.
When Harden officially signs his new deal, Philadelphia will have 12 players on the 15-man roster signed to guaranteed deals, as shown by our roster count. He was ranked No. 3 on our list of the top 50 free agents this summer.