Why James Harden's team-friendly two-year contract is ideal for the 76ers and makes sense for him too

Why James Harden's team-friendly two-year contract is ideal for the 76ers and makes sense for him too

Mere minutes after the Philadelphia 76ers were vanquished by the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals

 James Harden was asked a simple question by a reporter: Would Harden, a pending free agent

 take a pay cut in the short-term in order to help the Sixers build out the rest of the roster around Harden and MVP runner-up Joel Embiid? 

Harden answered the question diplomatically at the time, giving the following response

"I'll be here. [I'll do] whatever it takes to help this team continue to grow, and put us up there with the best of them

We're trying to win a championship. That's the goal. Whatever that looks like."   

Harden's comments sounded good at the time, but there were many who were skeptical that he would actually follow through with them

As we know now, though, Harden indeed lived up to his word by declining his $47 million dollar player option for the 2022-23 season

and instead agreeing to a new two-year deal that will pay him $32 million next season and includes a player option for the second season. 

By shaving $15 million off the amount owed to him next season, Harden, 32, created financial flexibility for the Sixers this summer

 flexibility that the team used to bolster the roster with additions like P.J. Tucker and Danuel House

 Such signings wouldn't have been possible without Harden leaving some bread on the table

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