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Report: James Harden to take pay cut to give Sixers roster flexibility

The Beard will take less money to stay in Philly and help improve the roster.

James Harden of Philadelphia 76ers reacts during NBA semifinals between Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States on May 12, 2022. Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

All-Star guard James Harden plans on signing a new contract with the Philadelphia 76ers that will allow the team more flexibility to improve the roster this upcoming season, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Friday afternoon.

Harden declined his $47 million player option for the 2022-2023 season and will be taking a $15 million pay cut. It is expected that his new deal will be for two years with a player option in Year 2. The intention is that this pay cut will allow Philly the flexibility to put together a championship contender for next season.

The 76ers finished first in the Atlantic Division last season and made it to the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Miami Heat. They lost the series 4-2 and weren’t able to overcome a Joel Embiid injury early.

Harden played in 21 regular season games and averaged 37.7 minutes, 21 points, 7.1 rebounds and 10.5 assists per game. He also started all 12 of their playoff games averaging 39.9 minutes, 18.6 points, 5.7 rebounds and 8.6 assists per game. Harden and Embiid are solid staples of a starting rotation, but Philadelphia will still need to use some of the freed cap space to bring in a better supporting cast.