By: Kylan Watson
James Harden the Philadelphia 76ers biggest acquisition of last season has a two-year contract (not officially signed yet) with the Sixers that will give them a lot of financial flexibility heading into the remainder of free agency. By not taking his full 47.5-million-dollar deal he has allowed Philly to get more bench and shooting depth. Those acquisitions so far have turned into (PJ Tucker, Danuel House, and De’Anthony Melton so far). There should be more moves coming as Philly heads into the remainder of the offseason.
Harden came to Philly in mid-February and immediately made a splash on the roster. Giving the Sixers a willing passer and a player who could create his own shot. Which the team was sorely lacking, he had a disappointing post-season. However, Harden did average 21.0 points per game, and 10.5 assists with the Sixers in 21-games (The only player to average 21 plus-points and at least 10 assists this season). His playmaking was very pivotal as he was able to find the open man and give Philly a new offensive dynamic. As defenses could not just double team Joel Embiid because Harden would make them pay with his shooting and playmaking skills. Harden now has a full offseason to recover from his sore hamstring and get into better shape. He also now has more time to develop chemistry with his teammates.
He has clearly bet on himself and is all-in on helping the Sixers reach their championship potential. Right now, the Sixers odds to win the 2023 NBA Championship stand at +1200 and +550 to win the Eastern Conference according to DraftKings. Philly has the roster flexibility with a couple of spots left to fill out. Trade rumors have linked them to Rockets guard Eric Gordon, Mavericks guard Reggie Bullock (free-agent) , and Heat forward Markieff Morris (free-agent). Any one of these players would provide the shooting and defensive prowess that Philly was sorely missing last year. Harden’s decision to take less money in the short-term has opened up even more flexibility for the Sixers to have one of their better chances at a championship. When the season begins in October.