Whatever transpired between bloated all-star James Harden and the Philadelphia 76ers, it was not the Beard getting a trim.
Despite national media lauding Harden for making a financial sacrifice to enhance his team’s chance to win next year, the truth is he got a $21.2 million raise.
Harden declined a $47.4 million option for next year, and then signed a two-year deal worth $68.6 million. I got a B- in Finite Math at Indiana University, so check my work here if you don’t mind – $68.6 million is more money that $47.4 million.
The extra year is irrelevant. Harden will turn 33 next month, is in decline, and has never sniffed a championship despite playing alongside all-star teammates like Kevin Durant (2X), Kyrie Irving, Russell Westbrook, Joel Embiid, Chris Paul, and others. The 76ers did little more than agree to pay Harden a $21.2 million bonus for two years of uninspired mediocrity instead of one.
Hilariously, Harden insisted upon a player option he could use next offseason to opt out of the $35.6 million he is guaranteed for 2023-2024 – just in case, I guess, he gets in shape and returns to the level of play he enjoyed as a high volume scorer who led the NBA in scoring for three years running. Fat chance.
I have no problem with Harden taking the 76ers to the cleaners, but national media types should call this what it is – an NBA con being played by a bearded grifter as adept at stacking sick sacks of cash as he used to be at getting buckets.