Updated: Aug 27
After another disappointing postseason exit and performance by Sixers star guard James Harden that saw the Sixers get bounced out the second-round to the Miami Heat, he has decided to take a $15 million pay cut by declining his $47.3 million player option to help the organization try to improve the roster to help contend for a championship. Harden seemed optimistic on the future for the Sixers by stating, "I think we have a much deeper team, that's something we wanted to address. If you look at our team now, we're positioned to go a lot further. I like how we stack up with the rest of the top teams."
Harden made those statements after seeing some of the moves the Sixers made this offseason by signing veteran P.J. Tucker to a three-year deal, while also adding Harden’s former teammates back in his Houston Rocket days, Danuel House, and DeAnthony Melton from the Memphis Grizzlies to help add more depth and toughness to their roster.
Part of the reason the Sixers came up short of reaching the conference finals was because of Harden’s shortcomings, but also injuries to their superstar center Joel Embiid suffered a broken ligament in his left thumb and a fractured orbital bone during the postseason, which diminished his effectiveness and aggressiveness.
Harden talked about how he and Embiid have been connecting throughout the offseason when he said I talk with Joel frequently and we have meetings about how we're going to play and what we need to do to help our team win a championship, when you have two of the top players at their positions on the same team, that's a great building block. We're going to grow together and try to lead this team to the top. I believe we can do it together."
Harden has done it all in the NBA, from being an MVP in 2018 to being a perennial All-NBA selection & All-Star, to Sixth Man of the Year in 2012. The only thing absent from his impeccable resume is an NBA championship. Can a motivated Harden and Embiid form a dominant one-two punch to help the Sixers win their first title since 1983 when they had the great Moses Malone and Julius Erving?
We shall wait and see if Harden’s willingness to take less for his team will result in a title.