James Harden taking pay cut from Sixers viewed as surprising move

·2 min read

In order for the Philadelphia 76ers to do anything in the 2022 offseason, they needed to find a way to clear some cap space to sign free agents and help upgrade the depth they lost when they acquired James Harden at the deadline.

So it figures that Harden would give back a bit in order to help Philadelphia regain that lost depth.

During the offseason, Harden took a big pay cut as he returned to the Sixers on a 2-year $68.6 million deal after declining his $47.3 million player option. That allowed Philadelphia to bring in PJ Tucker, Danuel House Jr., and Trevelin Queen in free agency in order to upgrade the supporting cast.

ESPN conducted a survey with 15 NBA coaches, scouts, and executives in order to get a feel of how the league views some of the biggest moves in the offseason. Harden taking a pay cut received one vote of how surprising the move was:

One executive cited Philadelphia’s getting Harden to take less money to help the Sixers rebuild their roster, one executive was surprised by the quiet summer among the league’s elite teams, and one scout pondered why (Russell) Westbrook, after everything that’s happened over the past several months, was still a Laker.

Harden has been able to have a summer to rest the hamstring injury that has been nagging him a bit for a few seasons so the expectation is that he can begin getting back to the explosive scorer he once was in the 2022-23 season for Philadelphia.

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Story originally appeared on Sixers Wire