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Philadelphia 76ers

Daryl Morey on James Harden: ‘He’s done more I think than maybe any star player’s ever done to take that much less money’

James Harden Philadelphia 76ers
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey had some major praise for superstar James Harden for taking a pay cut this offseason.

Morey also gave credit to Harden for helping the team bring in former Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell this offseason.

Harden agreed to a new, two-year deal this offseason that will pay him $33 million for the 2022-23 season. Harden also has a player option for the 2023-24 season at $35.6 million.

Rather than taking a max deal this offseason, Harden slashed his salary, which allowed the Sixers to add some key players to their rotation for the 2022-23 campaign.

Not only did the Sixers add Harrell, but they signed wing Danuel House and forward P.J. Tucker this offseason as well. Both players give the Sixers more options defensively, something the team lacked after trading away Ben Simmons last season.

Even though Simmons didn’t appear in a game for the Sixers during the 2021-22 campaign, it was clear Philly missed his defensive presence in the playoffs last season.

While Harden more than makes up for Simmons on the offensive end, adding players like Tucker, House and Harrell should help the Sixers’ defense and their depth in the 2022-23 season.

Last season, Harden averaged 22.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and 10.3 assists per game across 65 games for the Brooklyn Nets and Sixers. Harden’s shooting did take a hit in the 2021-22 season, as he finished the campaign shooting just 41.0 percent from the field and 33.0 percent from beyond the arc.

The Sixers are betting on Harden getting back to his MVP self in the 2022-23 season, and he will have plenty of help around him with All-Star Joel Embiid and rising young star Tyrese Maxey.

Morey and Harden go way back to their time with the Houston Rockets, and it’s clear that the Sixers president of basketball operations has a strong relationship with his star player.

Philadelphia is hoping that Harden’s unselfish decision will allow it to make a deep playoff run in the 2022-23 season after it was knocked out in the second round of the playoffs last season by the Miami Heat.

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