CAMDEN, New Jersey – James Harden spent his first 11 over-NBA seasons, playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder (over three years) and the Houston Rockets (eight).
Harden has been on two more teams for the past 13 months. He moved from the Houston to the Brooklyn Nets, where he stayed just over a season before being transferred to the 76ers as a result of a blockbuster exchange last Thursday.
Although he said his first choice was to go to Philadelphia 13 months ago, Harden was forced to leave Houston and Brooklyn – Houston because the Rockets were recovering and he didn’t want to understand why he wanted to leave Brooklyn during Tuesday’s introductory press conference at the team’s training base.
“I mean, it wasn’t planned that way,” Harden said. “Uh, 14 months ago I didn’t see myself on three different teams. I had to go to Brooklyn. We all know that it could be something special – regardless of the reason for it (does not happen) … Last year there were many ups and downs, a lot of stress. Anything. That was in the past. I’m excited, happy, and it’s a lifelong opportunity. “
Harden said he plans to pick up a player for $ 47.4 million for the 2022-23 season, and admired the coaching staff of the Sixers, Philly Faithful (“probably the best fans in the league”), many new teammates, the chances of title and just about everything related to his new organization.
Perhaps the 32-year-old Harden, three-time 2017-18 league champion and MVP, will agree to a four-year contract extension and $ 223 million with the Sixers after choosing his option and eventually wearing a Philadelphia uniform for a number of seasons.
Here are some other conclusions from the press conference:
♦ For Harden, it was a joint decision to serve the last two games of the Sixers before a stellar break with tension in the left hamstring.
Harden said the hamstring feels good and he was able to do a lot of running and strength to improve his condition, which he called “excellent”.
“But it’s nothing more than training in basketball – playing 5 on 5, pick-and-roll and getting punches, stuff like that,” he said.
♦ Sixers are monitoring the buyout market to see if a center will be available that can help them, by the March 1 deadline to qualify for the playoffs.
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Solutions, solutions:Harden’s addition means the Sixers ’Rivers need to make a lot of important decisions
Since the exchange of reserve big man Andre Drummond to the Nets in the Ben Simmons / Harden deal, Doc Rivers has used second-year professional Paul Reed as the main replacement for star center Joel Embiid. Newcomer Charles Bessie and veteran Paul Milsap, who made his Sixth debut on Tuesday against the Celtics 135-87, are other options.
“We’re looking,” Rivers said.
Since it was a 3 on 2 exchange, the Sixers have a place on the list if they find someone they like.
♦ Basketball President Daryl Mori has realized that in order to be a legitimate contender for the championship, you need to have at least two great players at the top of the list. He had waited so long to deal with Simmons, who had joined the fray, who first wanted to exchange him in late June because he was determined to nominate someone like Harden to be paired with Embid.
“Ever since Ben asked if we were going to trade, we knew it had to be something we thought could allow us to compete at a high level,” Mori said in his first speech to Philadelphia’s media. September. 27.
While he is optimistic about the Sixers ’chances in the post-season in April, May and possibly June, Mori is also getting all the talk at the moment.
“All the hard work comes from here,” he said. “We have not achieved anything yet.”
♦ Rivers likes to call NBA champions “winners” because they are the only team to have won the playoff finals.
“Being a winner is hard,” Rivers said. “And that’s what we want to become. That’s why we make such deals. We want to have the opportunity to be a winner, and we believe that this trade does that.”
♦ Harden believes that forward Tobias Harris should remain a stable scorer even if Harden joins Joel Embiid, Maxi, Harris and Mathis Tibul in the starting lineup.
“Tobias is a guy who can get 20 a night,” Harden said. “I feel like my job is to get it out of him. He’s also very versatile. We all know what a talent Tobias is.”
Tom Moore: tmoore @ couriertimes; @TomMoorePhilly