James Harden has earned his keep, a reason why he has been getting huge offers. But as most know, the 2018 NBA Most Valuable Player has not exactly been having a good run, falling short of winning an elusive NBA title.

With the Philadelphia 76ers, his tandem with Joel Embiid could result in one. But given that other NBA teams have also gotten stronger, the need to add more pawns to win an NBA title would be the best way to go.

To achieve that, there needs to be changes and sacrifices. On the part of the 2012 NBA Sixth Man of the Year awardee, that involves giving up millions to allow the Sixers to take in other key players.

As most know, Harden decline the $47 million player option of his contract and instead agreed to a two-year deal that would pay him $68.6 million. The second year includes a player option per a report by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, citing sources.

The $14 million savings gave the Sixers some financial flexibility. It allowed Philly to take in P.J. Tucker and Danuel House, key pieces that could boost the Sixers’ campaign.

Whether this would be enough remains to be seen. But as far as Harden is concerned, the added talent certainly shed some load off his and Embiid’s shoulders.

But the story in the second year of the deal is something that many will pay close attention to. If the tweaks fail to produce favorable results, Harden is likely to try the market and look for a better deal.

Hence, the situation could be added pressure on Doc Rivers and the company to go all out for the NBA title. They were close to achieving that last year with Harden hardly a factor. With more time to prepare, the story could be different this time around.

James Harden and Lil Baby
James Harden, NBA basketball player, is seen, outside Balenciaga, during Paris Fashion Week - Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2021/2022, on July 07, 2021 in Paris, France. Getty Images | Edward Berthelot

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