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NBA All-Star James Harden didn’t leave the Brooklyn Nets with much certainty regarding his future going into the 2021-2022 season. As the star guard didn’t pick up his player option for next season before training camp, many assumed Harden didn’t see a long-term future in Brooklyn.

Harden gave the Brooklyn media his word that wasn’t the case, but when February came around, the ten-time All-Star made it clear that he not only didn’t plan to play in Brooklyn long-term, but he desired to get out earlier if possible.

A trade between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Nets was done on deadline day. The disgruntled three-time All-Star Ben Simmons was sent packing to Brooklyn along with Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and picks. Meanwhile, Harden and Paul Millsap went to Philadelphia.

Once again, Harden didn’t pick up his player option for next season immediately. By the end of the year, the star guard made it clear he would be back with the Sixers and willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win a championship.

That time around, he was honest. While Harden declined his player option for next season, he didn’t do it with intentions of testing the free agency market. Instead, he wanted to take a team-friendly discount so the Sixers could sign prospects such as P.J. Tucker and Danuel House.

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With Tucker and House rostered for next season, Harden finally agreed to terms on a new contract with the 76ers, as the team announced the signing was official on Wednesday afternoon.

“This is where I want to be,” said Harden via press release. "This is where I want to win, and I think we have the pieces to accomplish that goal. 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.” 

Last season, Harden averaged 21 points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds in 21 games with the Sixers. In the playoffs, he averaged 18 points, eight assists, and five rebounds in 12 matchups. 

While the conclusion of the 2022 playoffs ended on a low note for the start of the Harden tenure, the star guard is more than confident in his ability to change the latest narrative about himself as he goes into a full offseason with the Sixers injury-free. 

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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