Philadelphia 76ers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey announced today that the team has re-signed 10-time All-Star and 13-year NBA veteran James Harden.
“Today, I’m celebrating alongside Sixers fans everywhere as we announce that James Harden – former MVP, 10-time All-Star and three-time scoring champion – has re-signed with the team,” Managing Partner Josh Harris said. “James stands out as an elite playmaker and feared scorer, and his commitment to the team reflects his dedication to bring a championship to this city. We recognize that winning a title is no easy feat, but I’m proud of the work our organization has done this offseason and look forward to the season ahead.”
Per the Philadelphia Inquirer, Harden “agreed to a two-year, $68.6 million deal to return to the 76ers, a league source confirmed. Harden will make $33 million during the 2022-23 season. The deal also includes a $35.6 million player option for 2023-24, allowing Harden to potentially enter free agency again next summer.”
Acquired by the 76ers as part of a five-player trade with the Nets on Feb. 10, 2022, Harden averaged 22.0 points (.410 FG, .330 3FG, .877 FT), 7.7 rebounds, 10.3 assists, 1.3 steals, and 37.2 minutes in 65 games played (all starts) between Brooklyn and Philadelphia in 2021-22. The 13-year veteran was one of two NBA players to tally at least 1,400 points, 500 rebounds, and 600 assists this past season, making him the fifth player in league history to accomplish that feat three times (Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook).
Also per the Inquirer, “the agreement comes less than a month after Harden declined his $47.4 million player option for the coming season, which allowed the Sixers to bolster their depth and toughness during free agency by signing veteran forward P.J. Tucker with the full mid-level exception and forward Danuel House with the biannual exception.”
Philadelphia starting lineups featured a league-best 20.2 net rating after Harden’s arrival to the team.
“This is where I want to be. This is where I want to win, and I think we have the pieces to accomplish that goal,” Harden said. “From my first day with the 76ers organization, the team and the fans have helped me feel at home here in Philadelphia. I’m excited to build off of last season and I can’t wait to get out on the court with the guys and start this journey.”
Harden posted totals of 442 points, 149 rebounds and 220 assists in his 21 games with the 76ers. He is the only player in league history to reach such totals within their first 21 outings with a new team. He also did so with the Brooklyn Nets in 2020-21.
This past season, Harden surpassed Hall of Famer Reggie Miller and moved into third place all-time in made three-pointers. He also posted 11 triple-doubles last season, which were the third-most in the NBA. For his career, Harden has the eighth-most triple-doubles in league history with 69.
“I couldn’t be happier with James’ decision to commit to our organization. Over the last two years we have taken major steps toward our ultimate goal of becoming champions,” said 76ers Head Coach Doc Rivers. “James shares our drive to win a title, and he believes being a 76er gives him the best opportunity to do that. Together, we will work tirelessly to achieve our goal.”
All told, Harden has appeared in 942 games (728 starts) with Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Houston and Oklahoma City and holds averages of 24.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 1.5 steals per game.
“James Harden is one of the greatest players in NBA history and a future Hall of Famer. His mission is to win an NBA title and we’re thrilled that he will continue that journey here in Philadelphia. He is one of the best scorers and passers to ever play, and his knowledge of the game allows him to dissect defenses and make everyone around him better,” Morey said. “James’ commitment to winning continues to resonate throughout our organization, and I believe we’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible in his partnership with Joel and this talented roster. This is an exciting time for our franchise.”
Prior to last season with the Nets and 76ers, Harden spent parts of nine seasons (2012-21) with the Rockets. During that time, Harden was named the 2017-18 NBA MVP after leading the NBA in points per game (30.4) and finishing third in assists (8.8). He was also among the top-three vote-getters for the award each season from 2016-20. Harden ended his Houston career as the franchise’s all-time leader in three-pointers (2,029), free throws (5,554) and assists (4,796) while ranking second in team history with 18,365 total points and third with 1,087 steals.
Harden, a three-time NBA scoring champion (2018-20) and NBA Sixth Man of the Year (2011-12), is one of four players in league history to have at least three seasons averaging at least 20 points, five rebounds and 10 assists. The only other players to do so more than once are Russell Westbrook (five times) and Hall of Famers Magic Johnson (three times) and Oscar Robertson (five times). His 36.1 points per game average in 2018-19 was the second-highest by any player since the start of the 1970-71 season, behind only Hall of Famer Michael Jordan’s average of 37.1 in 1986-87.
A member of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team, Harden helped lead the 76ers to their fifth consecutive playoff appearance.