LOS ANGELES – Superstar NBA guard James Harden and the Philadelphia 76ers are still ironing out the final details of a one-plus-one contract that will see them waived $15 million. But Harden said he is “off” with the Sixers and looks forward to going to work.
In an exclusive interview with Yahoo Sports on Sunday, the 10-time All-Star revealed why he was ready to make sacrifices financially for the betterment of the team, touched on off-season additions, discussed how he Where Physically Are, Joel Embiid spoke to their partnership and they launched their first signature wine collection, “J-Harden.”
At the conclusion of the Sixers’ 2021–22 season, depth was recognized as a significant, obvious weakness. Harden and President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey soon chatted about how the team might make the leap into next season.
“I chatted with Daryl, and it was explained how we could be better and what the market value was for some players. I asked Daryl to improve the roster, sign who we needed to sign. Need and give me what’s left,” Harden told Yahoo Sports. “It’s so bad that I want to win. I want to compete for a championship. That’s all that matters to me at this stage. I am willing to take less to be in a position to accomplish this.”
Sixers signed defensive specialist PJ Tucker from Miami for three years, $33 million; Signed shooter Danielle House for two years, $8.5 million; Picked up combo guard D’Anthony Melton via a trade; and signed Trevelin Queen, 2021–22 G League MVP.
“I think we have a very deep team,” Harden told Yahoo Sports. “This is something we wanted to address. If you look at our team now, we are in a position to go a long way. I love how we sync up with the rest of the top teams.”
In order for the Sixers to reach their full potential, Harden must return to his normal dominating self. The 2018 MVP succumbed to a number of ailments last season, including a delicate right hamstring injury.
He drew criticism for his game during the 21 regular season games he played in Philadelphia after being traded to Brooklyn. His figures were not up to his standard offensive blasts, yet the 32-year-old veteran still averaged 21 points, 7.1 rebounds and 10.5 assists with the Sixers.
“I don’t really listen to what people are saying. I wasn’t perfect last season and I still averaged almost triple-double,” Harden told Yahoo Sports. “If anyone else had those numbers, So let’s talk about getting the most of them. People were used to seeing me as an average of 40, 30 points, and so they saw it as a down year. I was in Philadelphia for a few months and had to learn to fly. that was all. I am in good shape now physically and mentally and I am looking forward to next season.
Harden and fellow superstar Embiid will be tasked with getting everyone on the same page.
“I talk with Joel often and we have meetings about how we’re going to play and what we need to do to help our team win the championship,” Harden told Yahoo Sports. “When you have two top players on the same team, it is a great building block. We are going to grow together and try to take this team to the top. I believe we can do this together.”
Meanwhile, Harden is exploring his off-court ventures.
They teamed up with Accolade Wines to release their first signature wine, “J-Harden”, set to be available for purchase online and through major retailers in the United States starting September 1. The retail price is expected to be $16.99.
“Harden and his team will also have a role in the creative direction, design, and style of the wine. J-Harden’s label features a likeness of Harden’s iconic beard with bright colors and an inside silhouette of Harden’s face,” according to a news release. Will include floral design.” As a 10-time NBA All-Star and the third-leading 3-point scorer in NBA history, Harden plans to share his personal Vine journey with fans on his social media accounts and J-Harden to retailers and buyers around the world.”
“I wanted to make a wine that was affordable, but also had some swag,” Harden told Yahoo Sports. “If you look at the design of our bottle, it is unique. There’s some swag in it. It is different from all other wine bottles which are largely similar. We wanted it to stand out and then we will take you through its taste. We have California Cabernet Sauvignon and California Red Blend. That’s why we have something for all the wine enthusiasts. I am really excited for this opportunity. I think consumers are going to really like it.”
Customers can register for first release access to “J-Harden” at www.j-hardenwines.com.