Sixers' James Harden says he told Daryl Morey to improve team, 'give me whatever is left over'

Sixers’ James Harden says he told Daryl Morey to improve team, ‘give me whatever is left over’

Harden: ‘I Asked Daryl to Improve the Roster…Give Me All What’s Left’ Originally Appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

At least on paper, the Sixers have checked the main boxes they expected from this season, adding players who upgrade the team’s depth, defense and toughness.

This would have been very difficult to accomplish if James Harden had exercised his player option of about $47.4 million.

In an interview with Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Harden discussed the status of the Sixers roster with Daryl Morey, president of basketball operations.

“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. Give me what is needed and what is left,” Harden told Haynes. “How bad it is 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.”

Hours after receiving combo guard D’Anthony Melton from the Grizzlies on the night of the NBA draft, Morey said the following about his conversation with Harden: “Well, we can’t talk yet. I would expect . ..Actually, I don’t know. We’ll talk to him. As you guys heard, it’s a celebration of mutual love, so we think we’ll sort it out.”

Unknowingly, More retweeted On Haynes’ story late Sunday night.

The exact terms of Harden’s new deal haven’t been finalized — both sides will tell you it includes a significant Year 1 pay cut, but there’s no secret about whether the 32-year-old is staying with the Sixers. Athletics shams Charnia reported on July 8 that Harden is “taking a $15 million pay cut for next season” and plans to sign a two-year contract with a player option in the second season. Haynes wrote Sunday night that Harden and the Sixers are “still ironing out the final details.”

Had Harden accepted his option, the Sixers would not have had a clear path toward signing two of his former teammates. PJ Tucker and Danuel House Jr. Standards use mid-level exceptions and bi-annual exceptions, respectively.

Adding two-way players was important for the Sixers, although most of their 2022–23 season will ride on two players with 15 combined All-Star appearances. Joel Embiid has had back-to-back MVP runner-up finishes and won the NBA scoring title last season. There are three of them on Harden’s resume.

“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 Haynes. “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.”

Along those same lines, Harden has spent time working with backcourt partner Tyrese Maxi this summer. The Sixers expect the two to have far more to play than their current 21 games before next year’s playoffs begin.

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