After reportedly declining his $47 million player option for next season, James Harden is still expected to re-sign with the Sixers instead of testing free agency. However, instead of asking for the max contract, Harden seems willing to take less money so Philadelphia has more room to improve the roster.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Harden understands how the Sixers failed in the playoffs last year and would like to give Philadelphia more cap space to make improvements.
“It’s really an attempt by Harden to try to give Philadelphia the tools to go out and improve this Sixers team,” Wojnarowski said on ESPN’s Get Up.
Wojnarowski added that there is no doubt Harden will return, and both he and the team have been in communication about what the team needs to do to make a run at a championship.
“He’s going to be back in Philadelphia, they’ll work out the terms of a deal,” he said. “What Harden has really talked to the Sixers about was trying to do what he could to allow Daryl Morey, Elton Brand and their front office to go out and surround he and Joel Embiid with the kind of players, and the kind of toughness … that they felt they lacked in the playoffs last year.”
The Sixers traded for Harden in February, and the guard committed to the team both after the trade occurred and after the season ended. Harden originally planned on exercising his player option but changed his course to help the team.
Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported last week that Harden was expected to sign a short-term contract with Philadelphia.
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