Daryl Morey, James Harden Are Playing a Dangerous Game in Philly

Daryl Morey, James Harden Are Playing a Dangerous Game in Philly

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE thru Getty Photographs

A cynic would recount James Harden, Daryl Morey and the Philadelphia 76ers dangle agreed to an below-the-desk, multiyear belief to skirt the foundations to are trying to invent a championship contender. An NBA optimist, recognizing prearranged offers are illegal, would suggest that every facet are merely working together in the direction of a total purpose.

Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Harden has agreed to re-signal with the Sixers on a “two-twelve months, $68.6 million contract, in conjunction with a player option for the 2023-24 season.”

Harden will for stagger opt out of his closing twelve months at $35.6 million to signal at a novel max salary beginning at $46.6 million—not not up to that is what a pair of competing govt expects.

The idea, to a pair, has the Sixers rewarding Harden for serving to Morey, president of basketball operations, “raise the band aid together,” as an NBA agent termed it—regarding the extinct Houston Rockets avid gamers not too long ago added to the Philadelphia roster.

That’s where Morey appears to be like to be having a seek aid presumably extra than he is having a seek ahead.

Harden, declining his $47.4 million option, quantities to a projected $14.4 million pay sever, allowing Morey to utilize the team’s non-taxpayer mid-level exception on PJ Tucker and bi-annual exception on Danuel Apartment (who both performed with Harden, below Morey, in Houston).

But did the 76ers mosey far ample with a one-plus-one? Why did not the team desire a protracted-time length diagram at a much less pricey mark?

Had Harden opted in or re-signed at the max, the 76ers ought to not dangle had the flexibility to signal both extinct Rockets. But Tucker is 37. Dwelling is a job player. Harden shall be 34 by opening evening in 2023, presumably re-signed at the max if the cynic is felony.

The pass was shut to the B/R advice from Would possibly per chance per chance well even that Harden may per chance well furthermore silent opt out to signal a much less pricey however silent substantiative multiyear deal in Philadelphia. The pass would set the franchise indispensable luxurious taxes, of which segment may per chance well furthermore be kicked aid to Harden thru a longer deal at a decrease mark.

Harden once again holds leverage as he did in Brooklyn with the Nets before he forced his reach to Philadelphia.

The Sixers may per chance well furthermore dangle passe the chance to lock him in on a longer deal shut to $35 million per season—equivalent to what Chris Paul did in Phoenix with the Suns. Paul opted out to pick a decrease salary sooner than the 2021-22 season on a extra profitable four-twelve months, $120 million contract (with $75 million guaranteed).

Or even it is the 76ers who are hedging their bets. Joel Embiid is in his prime, while Harden may per chance well furthermore not be anymore.

“I’m certain since we bought him, all individuals expected the Houston James Harden, however that’s not who he is anymore,” was Embiid’s pick after the Miami Warmth eliminated the Sixers within the convention semifinals closing season.

Whether or not it is unique rule interpretations or factual slippage, Harden’s skill to attack the basket and parade to the free-throw line has dipped. His protection was never a strength.


While Embiid, 28, has eclipsed Harden as an MVP candidate, he clearly wants aid. Love so somewhat about a the great great males within the history of the NBA, he is reliant on guards to compile him the ball. Philadelphia may per chance well furthermore silent be sturdy with Harden, Tobias Harris, Tyrese Maxey, De’Anthony Melton and now Tucker and Apartment.

This may per chance well furthermore be regarded as doubtless the most indispensable attention-grabbing supporting casts Embiid has had since he performed with Jimmy Butler in 2018-19, however that’s supposing Harden resurges.

Perchance these being concerned about circumvention are factual paranoid. Most almost definitely Morey is holding the Sixers from overinvesting in Harden. The guard took purchase, and the 76ers may per chance well furthermore aid the freeway on a equally priced contract subsequent season may per chance well furthermore silent he opt out.

Indifferent, locking him down longer on a bigger quantity may per chance well furthermore prevent overpaying Harden may per chance well furthermore silent he spike this season. That would furthermore be why the cynics are jubilant Philadelphia is working the plan to draw flexibility after which pay Harden.

Embiid wants that extensive title running mate, and while Harden is a excessive-volume shooter, he is furthermore a keen playmaker. It’ll furthermore silent work, however it is unhealthy tying up so great in two stars if one is fading.

Morey, Harden and the Sixers may per chance well furthermore dangle contrivance together creatively to forge a champion. But If the two can’t entirely mesh this twelve months, is Morey sturdy ample to pivot may per chance well furthermore silent Harden opt out?

Or will the connection, solid thru years of working together in Houston, pick precedence over the product on the court?

Email Eric Pincus at [email protected], and practice him on Twitter, @EricPincus.