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#pounditMonday, September 26, 2022

James Harden explains why he took pay cut from 76ers

James Harden looking on

Nov 15, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) arrives to Toyota Center prior to the game against the Indiana Pacers. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden is speaking out about the recent haircut he got from his team.

The Philadelphia 76ers star spoke to Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports in an exclusive interview and revealed why he accepted a pay cut in free agency.

“I had conversations with [GM] Daryl [Morey], and it was explained how we could get better and what the market value was for certain players,” Harden said. “I told Daryl to improve the roster, sign who we needed to sign and give me whatever is left over.

“This is how bad I want to win,” the former NBA MVP continued. “I want to compete for a championship. That’s all that matters to me at this stage. I’m willing to take less to put us in position to accomplish that.”

In the interview, Harden goes on to discuss his performance last season, his relationship with Sixers co-star Joel Embiid, and many other topics. You can read the interview in full here.

Then ten-time All-Star Harden was acquired by the 76ers at the NBA trade deadline last season but failed to meet expectations. Though he managed a 21-7-10 line in the regular season, come playoff time, Harden shrunk like a cotton shirt in the dryer (outside of one excellent outing against the Miami Heat during the second round). Whether Harden’s struggles were due to his lingering hamstring injury or natural decline at 32 years old (with the most minutes played in the league over the last decade) remains up for debate.

Ultimately, Harden declined a $47 million player option for next season and will instead play on a 1+1 deal in which he takes a sizable reduction in salary. That, in turn, helped Philadelphia sign Harden’s ex-Houston teammates PJ Tucker and Danuel House in free agency (on top of trading for De’Anthony Melton and signing reigning G League MVP Trevelin Queen). There are some indications that the 76ers may be able to acquire another one of Harden’s old teammates as well.

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