It certainly looked like the Philadelphia 76ers would be a true contender in the Eastern Conference this past season. But they fell short in their second-round playoff series against the Miami Heat.
Despite trading for star shooting guard James Harden, it was clear that the Sixers had some issues that will need to be fixed this offseason.
Bringing back Harden will be a top priority on Philadelphia’s to-do list, but Harden has made things extremely easy for the team to build a winner around him.
After opting out of his player option that would have netted him $47 million next season, Harden said that he would take a $15 million pay cut to stay in Philadelphia for the next two seasons.
Now it appears that he may be willing to take a pay cut that is even more drastic than that.
He discussed the topic of a pay cut in an interview with Yahoo’s Chris Haynes on Sunday and revealed that he’s told Philadelphia president of basketball operations Daryl Morey he’ll do anything it takes for the Sixers to win a championship next year.
“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 told 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.”
Harden has been excellent over his career, but has always been criticized for his lack of postseason success over the years.
It is extremely good to hear that he is willing to sacrifice the amount of money he will make in order to change that narrative surrounding him.
The Sixers have already made a number of notable moves this offseason, bringing in veteran forward P.J. Tucker as well as trading with the Memphis Grizzlies for promising young guard DeAnthony Melton.
That may not be enough for Philadelphia to make the leap needed to win a championship next year. But it is at least a step in the right direction to build a competitive bench that can help Harden and Joel Embiid moving forward.
[Yahoo Sports; photo from Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports]