Cover Image for “I was not the same James Harden”: The Beard spills the beans on his $15M pay cut 

“I was not the same James Harden”: The Beard spills the beans on his $15M pay cut 

Arjun Julka
|Tue Jul 19 2022

Sixers guard James Harden addresses his reported $15M pay cut, admitting not having the best outing last season but aims to come back with an aggressive approach.

Things haven’t been the same for James Harden since leaving Houston, with his hamstring injury in 2021 only making things worse. The former MVP has forced himself out of two teams in the past one and a half seasons but failed to live up to expectations.

Currently, with the Sixers, The Beard’s style of play has shifted more towards the role of facilitator. Nevertheless, Harden is no more the scoring beast he once was with the Rockets. His recent performances in the playoffs only made things worse, especially in the elimination game against the Miami Heat at home.

The three-time scoring champion failed to get rid of his playoff choker tag averaging 4.2 TPG and shooting a mediocre 40.5% from the field. Harden would find himself amid heavy criticism with the noise to not give Harden a max extension growing.

Also read: 6’5″ James Harden talks about Joel Embiid, defends his performance last season and explains his $15 Million pay-cut

Nevertheless, the Sixers guard decided to take a $15M pay cut though having a player option. The former Rockets superstar aims to create cap space to accommodate more players. Thus Harden and the Sixers agreed upon a 2-years $68M deal.

“For any other players, that’s a max contract but for me, I was not the same Harden.”

In what many believe, Harden’s prime has aged faster than expected. Though he averaged an impressive double-double comprising 22.0 points and 10.3 assists, the ten-time All-Star has set the bar too high with his umpteen 30-point and 40-point performances.

It was surprising to see Harden not be the no.1 option on a team as far as scoring is concerned. The former Rockets superstar’s efficiency took a nosedive, especially from 3-point range at a disappointing 33% efficiency. Passing up on his $47M player-option, the former 6th MOY said the following.

“Taking less money this year to sign as many players as we needed to help us contend and be the last team standing was very, very important to me,” Harden said. “I wanted to show the organization, the Sixers fans, and everybody else who supports what we’re trying to accomplish, what I’m trying to accomplish individually, that this is what I’m about. For any other players, that’s a max contract,” he said of his lower numbers, “but it’s like, for me, I was not the same James Harden.”

With Harden taking the pay cut, Daryl Morey and co were able to recruit the likes of P.J. Tucker and Danuel House. The 6″5′ guard was under a lot of heat for looking out of shape off-late, evident from his sluggish speed on the hardwood.

However, Harden aims to adopt a more aggressive approach in the upcoming season, stating the following.

“It was craziness, but I’m finally back. I’ll be a lot more aggressive scoring-wise just because my body allows me to. Coming back and being the aggressor, the scorer first and then the playmaker, is something that I need for myself,” he said.

Via: NBC Philadelphia

The Beard confessing to his drawbacks publicly speaks volumes of him as he sends a stern warning to the league ahead of the 2022-23 season.

Also read: “My family is here, this is the place I would call home”: James Harden shows his love for the city of Houston



About the author
Arjun Julka

Arjun Julka

A 26-year-old from Mumbai. A huge Basketball fan who regularly consumes hours of basketball content, be it matches, debates, or analysis. Some of my other interests include CrossFit, watching documentaries, collecting sneakers, and trying out different types of cuisines.

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