James Harden ‘Willing to Take Less’ to Win First NBA Championship

James Harden 'Willing to Take Less' to Win First NBA Championship

James Harden’s sense of urgency has heightened into his 16th season in the NBA. Winning his first title is so crucial that the 32-years-old is willing to take a substantial $15 million pay cut to make it happen.

Harden taking less money allowed 76ers president Daryl Morey to answer the teams’ depth problems by signing two-way powerhouse PJ Tucker, sharpshooter Danuel House, 2022 G League MVP Trevelin Queen, and acquiring combo guard De’Anthony Melton via trade this summer.

Now with some more pieces surrounding Harden and Joel Embiid, the 76ers will need Harden to come back healthy and with a vengeance not seen since Oklahoma City traded him to Houston and he established as the most dangerous lefty playmaker in the League today.

“I had conversations with Daryl, and it was explained how we could get better and what the market value was for certain players. I told Daryl to improve the roster, sign who we needed to sign and give me whatever is left over,” Harden said per Yahoo Sports. “This is how bad I want to win. I want to compete for a championship. That’s all that matters to me at this stage. I’m willing to take less to put us in position to accomplish that.”

That starts with Harden being able to produce more than 21.0 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 10.5 assists per game on 40.2 percent shooting from the field and 32.6 percent from deep he averaged in 21 games with Philly last year.

While many around the League may not even expect to see “Houston” James Harden reemerge next year, Harden says that part of the reason he struggled was because of numerous injuries, including a persistenly balky hamstring. To those unsure of what Harden to expect, Harden only has the following to say.

“I don’t really listen to what people are saying. I wasn’t right last season and I still almost averaged a triple-double,” Harden said. “If anybody else had those numbers, we’d be talking about them getting the max. People were used to seeing me averaging 40, 30 points, and so they viewed it as a down year. I was in Philadelphia for a couple of months and I had to learn on the fly. That’s just what it was. I’m in a good space physically and mentally right now, and I’m just looking forward to next season.”

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