This summer James Harden rejected a $47.4 million player option for the 2022-23 NBA season.
Instead, the former league MVP inked a two-year, $68.6 million deal with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Under the new contract Harden is set to earn $33 million next year and then will have a $35.6 million player option for the 2023-24 season.
According to NBA insider Marc Stein, there are some legit suspicions in regards to Harden’s new deal with the Sixers.
“There is a suspicion in some corners of the league that Harden had to have consented to this arrangement because he also secured a wink-wink guarantee about the future,” he reported.
“Meaning a promise from Morey that would allow Harden to recoup what he left on the table this offseason by declining the player option for next season in his new Sixers deal and then signing a whopper of a five-year deal in the summer of 2023 at almost 34.
“Such speculation is inevitable given how close Morey and Harden clearly are, but I’ve also heard plenty around the league question whether the Sixers, beyond the fact that these types of arrangements are against league rules, could actually bring themselves to give Harden any assurances.”
Harden has been very outspoken about his Philly future in recent days. He gave a brutally honest assessment of his partnership with Joel Embiid and seems to be working out hard for next season.
Also, recent photos with his new girlfriend seem to suggest that Harden may be tempering down the partying – something that has held him down before.
Now that’s how you celebrate a Super Bowl. https://t.co/glOvl6mQvC
— Game 7 (@game7__) July 24, 2022
Harden left the Brooklyn Nets on really bad terms last season. His teammates absolutely loathed him. Clearly he wants to right that wrong this time around with the Sixers.
Will 2022-23 be the year when Harden finally wins that ever-elusive first career championship?
Time will tell.