James Harden has yet to officially sign his new deal with the Philadelphia 76ers. Although, he has already an agreement in place with the Sixers and he’s getting ready for the 2022-23 campaign.
The guard told Adrienne Faurote of Haute Time that he was limited by hamstring injuries the past two seasons and his top priority will be to get healthy and return to the elite form he was two years ago.
“I’ve had the luxury of not having to deal with any serious injuries—with surgeries or whatnot—my entire career. But these last two years, I’ve been dealing with some hamstring issues, which are nothing to play with,” Harden said.
“So I’m taking this summer as an opportunity to do something for me, to make sure that I get back to the elite level that I know I can be at and that I will be at. So that’s priority No. 1.”
The 32-year-old declined his $47 million player option for 2022-23 and took a $15 million pay cut to return to the 76ers. Harden won three straight scoring titles from 2018-20, averaging 33.7 points per game during this stretch.
He averaged just 23.1 points per game during the last two years playing for the Houston Rockets, Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers. Philadelphia could become a legit contender if Harden returns to his previous form.
Joel Embiid finished second in MVP voting, while Tyrese Maxey was one of the most improved players in the league last season. With veterans like Tobias Harris and P.J. Tucker also in the roster, the Sixers can match up with any team in the NBA.
Harden had a tough time making the defenses pay. He lacked the explosiveness to blow past his opponents and shot just 40.2 percent in 21 regular-season games with the Sixers. In the postseason, the struggles continued, with Harden just averaging 18.6 points.