PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - MAY 12: James Harden #1 of the Philadelphia 76ers in Game Six of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Semifinals at Wells Fargo Center on May 12, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

We have known for a while that James Harden was going to take a pay cut to return to the Sixers. He declined his $47.4 million option a few weeks ago. The report then was that he would return for about a $15 million pay cut. But now we know the details of the deal. Harden has signed a 2-Year $68.6 Million Deal to return to the Sixers.

Harden will make $14.4 million less than he would have under his player option. The pay cut gave the Sixers the wiggle room to bring in PJ Tucker and Danuel House. And they did it without a long-term commitment, which should benefit both sides. The Sixers do not have to commit to a player who showed signs of age last year, and Harden could have another chance at a big contract next year.

Harden recently spoke to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports about why he was willing to play for less this year.

“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. That’s all that matters to me at this stage. I’m willing to take less to put us in position to accomplish that.”- James Harden

Harden will get a chance to redeem himself for his performance in the final two games last year. And he will be doing so for less money than he could have made. It’s not a fully altruistic move, because he benefits from it as well. But it is still rare to see a player leave money on the table as James Harden did.