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James Harden returns to the Philadelphia 76ers on a two-year, $68.6 million contract

It’s long been a foregone conclusion that James Harden would re-sign with the Philadelphia 76ers. The question has always been when.

Well, we are at that point. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Harden has re-signed with Philadelphia on a below-market two-year, $68.6 million contract.

It was previously noted that Harden would take roughly a $15 million pay cut to re-sign with Philadelphia after the former NBA MVP opted out of his $47 million salary for the 2022-23 season. That’s now come to fruition.

Related: James Harden and the NBA’s highest-paid players

Why did James Harden take less than market value?

philadelphia 76ers, james harden
Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It’s rather simple. Harden wanted to do everything possible to help Philadelphia add the assets to create a championship contender.

“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. This is how bad I want to win. I want to compete for a championship.”

James Harden on his contract situation

The 76ers did just that by adding the likes of De’Anthony Melton, P.J. Tucker and Danuel House to the mix.

Harden will now return for his first full season with Philadelphia after being acquired in a blockbuster trade with the Brooklyn Nets back in February.

James Harden stats (2021-22): 22.0 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 10.3 APG, 41% shooting, 33% 3-point

The hope is that Harden can return to form after putting up his worst statistical performance since he was a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder back in 2011-12. If so, this contract will prove to be a bargain.