NBC Sports Philadelphia (DR)
James Harden surprised a lot of people this summer, by taking a huge pay cut. A laudable gesture, but some think that it does not come out of nowhere… According to a famous insider, The Beard would have consented to it for a very specific reason.
The least we can say is that James Harden fell short in his first half season with the Sixers. Very clumsy in shooting, in addition to not always showing the desire to take responsibility in attack, the superstar rear has disappointed a lot since his trade last February. He even hit rock bottom in the playoffs, with two disastrous rounds against the Raptors and the Heat. We expected more from him…
In addition to that, his professionalism has also been singled out, the 2018 MVP appearing with a certain overweight and continuing to frequent strip clubs. However, the last few weeks seem to indicate a change of mentality in him. The former Rocket appeared to be in much better physical shape, and above all, he agreed to cut his salary from $47 million to $32 million for the coming year. Few people expected such a sacrifice from him.
Harden ready to touch less… to earn more?
Officially, he did this in order to help Philadelphia get stronger, in order to fight for a title they are still missing after 13 years in the league. But according to Marc Stein, The Beard didn’t just play good Samaritan. Instead, the insider claims No. 13 did this because he knew he could get something else in return from his leaders. In this case, it would be a new juicy contract in 2023 since he will then have a player option:
As we’ve said before, there are suspicions in some corners of the league that Harden must have consented to this arrangement because he also got a guarantee on the future – that is, a promise from Morey. which would allow Harden to recoup what he left on the table this offseason by turning down the player option for next season in his new contract with the Sixers.
After that, he could sign a massive five-year contract in the summer of 2023 at almost 34 years old. Such speculation is inevitable given the closeness between Morey and Harden, but I’ve also heard many people around the league question whether the Sixers, beyond the fact that these types of arrangements are against the rules of the league, could bring themselves to give reassurances to Harden.
Basically, El Chapo has stepped back to better jump into an even bigger financial pool as soon as his two-year tenure expires. That being said, there is no guarantee that he will see his wish granted. Indeed, everything will depend on what he will show on the court, in the company of Joel Embiid. If he can’t justify such an amount, then the Philly front office will certainly refuse to spin him the jackpot. It is therefore up to him to prove himself, to prove that he deserves it.
The greed, this is the real reason behind James Harden’s move according to Marc Stein. Quite a risky strategy, but if the 2018 MVP has his way, then he could find himself with some pretty bonkers prospects as he enters the final chapter of his playing career.