Report: James Harden taking $15M pay cut to remain with 76ers

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James Harden has agreed to a new deal that includes a $15 million pay cut to remain with the Philadelphia 76ers, The Athletic's Shams Charania reports.

He'll sign a two-year contract with a player option for the second year, according to the report.

Harden, 32, arrived in Philadelphia last season via a trade-deadline deal that sent Ben Simmons to the Brooklyn Nets. In 21 regular-season games with the 76ers, Harden averaged 21 points, 10.5 assists and 7.1 rebounds per game while shooting 40.2% from the floor and 32.6% from 3-point distance, all well below his peak MVP and All-NBA form. His shooting percentages took a significant dip from his career 44.2% field-goal rate and 36.1% 3-point rate.

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 10: James Harden #1 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts against the Miami Heat during the first half in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at FTX Arena on May 10, 2022 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
James Harden is taking a pay cut to remain in Philadelphia. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Will 76ers contend next season?

The 76ers finished 51-31 and made the playoffs as the East's No. 4 seed. They lost in the second round to the top-seeded Miami Heat as MVP finalist Joel Embiid was limited by injuries to his right thumb and his face. It was a disappointing end for a 76ers team that entered the season expecting to compete for a championship. With Embiid in his prime, the 76ers will again look to contend next season.

Harden isn't the elite player that he was in his Houston Rockets prime, but still projects as a valuable starter. His pay cut gives the 76ers more flexibility to operate within the salary cap with the bulk of free agency movement already done.

The 76ers selected Colorado State forward David Roddy in the draft and signed P.J. Tucker, Danuel House Jr. and Trevelin Queen in free agency. None of them project as significant difference makers in a competitive Eastern Conference with the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics and Heat all expected to contend again next season.

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