James Harden officially signed a two-year deal to stay with the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA and will make about $14.5 million less this coming season than he could have made under his previous contract, according to multiple reports. The team announced the previously reported deal on July 27.
The deal is worth just over $68 million, paying him about $33 million this season with a $35 million player option for the 2023-24 season. Harden had a $47.4 million option for next season that he turned down last month, saying he wanted to give the 76ers flexibility to improve their roster and compete for a championship.
“This is where I want to be. This is where I want to win, and I think we have the pieces to achieve that goal.” Harden said Wednesday. “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 on last season and can’t wait to get out on the court with the guys and start this journey.”
Daryl Morey, the team’s president of basketball operations, posted a photo on Instagram of him posing with Harden when the 10-time All-Star point guard known as “The Beard” signed his contract.
Harden’s plans have been clear since Philly’s season ended: He was committed to staying with the 76ers and he was committed to helping them improve.
Returning that kind of money — Harden basically gave himself a 30% pay cut for next season — allowed the 76ers to make moves like signing power forward PJ Tucker and forward Danuel House earlier this month.
Harden is a three-time scoring champion and averaged 22.0 points and 10.3 assists during his time with Brooklyn and Philadelphia last season. The seven-time NBA player was Kia’s Most Valuable Player in 2018 and is a member of the league’s 75th anniversary team.
Harden has appeared in 942 games (728 starts) with Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Houston and Oklahoma City and has averages of 24.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 1.5 steals.