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Since the 2012-2013 NBA season, James Harden and Daryl Morey have worked together. When Morey was running the Houston Rockets front office, he helped acquire one of the best players the franchise has ever seen by landing Harden via trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

For eight years, Harden ran the show in Houston. Since 2013, he’s been an All-Star and was crowned the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2018. After Harden’s eighth season in Houston, Morey parted ways with the organization and joined the Sixers’ front office.

Meanwhile, Harden lasted just eight games with the Rockets in his ninth season in Houston before he made it clear he wouldn’t play again until he was traded.

Harden liked the idea of joining the Sixers or the Brooklyn Nets. Ultimately, he ended up with the latter team. In 2020-2021, Harden played 36 games in Brooklyn. The following year, he appeared in 44 games before wanting out of that situation.

For the second time in under two years, Harden was traded and reunited with Morey in Philadelphia. After spending 21 games with the Sixers, Harden entered a critical offseason as he could pick up his player option or become a free agent.

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Harden declined his option but had intentions of returning to Philadelphia on a short-term deal. On Wednesday, the Sixers officially announced that Harden inked his deal, which is expected to be a one-year deal with a player option attached for next year.

“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,” said Daryl Morey. 

When the Sixers had no choice but to close the book on Ben Simmons, Morey’s goal was to ensure he got an All-Star to pair up with Joel Embiid. After he made the Harden dream a reality, Morey looks forward to seeing the two All-Stars continue to build on their chemistry in 2022-2023.

“[James] 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 continued. “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."

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for All76ers, a Sports Illustrated channel. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.


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