James Harden Rumors: 76ers Meeting with Star to Discuss New Contract over Weekend

Erin WalshJune 30, 2022

PHILADELPHIA, PA, USA - MAY 12: James Harden of Philadelphia 76ers in action during NBA semifinals between Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States on May 12, 2022. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

James Harden and the Philadelphia 76ers will meet this weekend to negotiate a new contract, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Harden declined his $47.3 million option with the Sixers earlier this week to become a free agent. Although he is expected to re-sign in Philly, his decision to opt out will provide the franchise with a little more financial flexibility this summer.

"In Harden's conversations with the team since the end of the season, he has shared extensively his desire to help the organization reshape the roster toward championship contention," sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

That flexibility has already allowed the Sixers to agree to a three-year, $33.2 million contract with P.J. Tucker, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, and to a two-year, $8.5 million deal with Danuel House Jr., per Wojnarowski. Both players will undoubtedly help the team's perimeter defense, which lacked last season.

Harden was traded to Philadelphia from the Brooklyn Nets in February. In 21 regular-season games, he averaged 21.0 points, 7.1 rebounds, 10.5 assists and 1.2 steals while shooting 40.2 percent from the floor and 32.6 percent from deep.

However, the addition of the 32-year-old didn't end up paying off for the Sixers in the postseason as they were eliminated by the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

In 12 playoff games, Harden averaged 18.6 points, 5.7 rebounds and 8.6 assists while shooting 40.5 percent from the floor and 36.8 percent from deep.

With Harden, Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey all set to hit the floor together again during the 2022-23 season, the Sixers should once again be one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

However, the additions of Tucker and House, and possibly others, will help Philadelphia contend with teams such as the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics, who have reached the NBA Finals over the last two seasons.

The Sixers have the seventh-best odds to win the 2023 title at +1200, per FanDuel. Depending on what other moves the franchise makes this summer, those odds could greatly improve.

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