It has been a strong offseason so far for the Philadelphia 76ers, and a lot of it was made possible by a gigantic pay cut agreed to by James Harden. By opting out of his old contract and signing into a more team friendly agreement, Harden essentially took a $15mil pay cut and gave the Sixers an opportunity to sign a couple very useful free agents. Daryl Morey was the one who took advantage of that extra spending cash, and he was also one of the reasons it seems that Harden felt comfortable forfeiting a large sum of money. It’s no secret that Harden and Morey are very close – Harden was the catalyst of Morey’s team building style that turned the mid 2010 Houston Rockets into one of the most formidable offenses in NBA history – but their bromance looks like it’s increasing by the day since Harden opted out.

Besides being pictured together at a couple events this offseason, Morey has shared numerous glowing reviews of James Harden’s ability and unselfishness, including this recent quote in response to Harden’s signing of his new deal:

“James Harden is one of the greatest players in NBA history and a future Hall of Famer. His mission is to win an NBA title and we’re thrilled that he will continue that journey here in Philadelphia. He is one of the best scorers and passers to ever play, and his knowledge of the game allows him to dissect defenses and make everyone around him better.”

It’s not the first time Morey has professed his love of the way James Harden plays the game, and the Sixers’ President of Basketball Operations’ love is not unrequited. Though Harden rarely says exactly what we know he’s thinking when it comes to Morey, it’s no secret to NBA insiders how the superstar feels. Long time NBA insider Jay Williams was quoted as saying earlier this offseason that “Daryl Morey is the only guy that potentially would have had James Harden” in reference to Harden choosing to take a pay cut. It’s a move that we rarely see in sports from an aging superstar, and yet, Harden trusted Morey to make the most of it and not to waste the opportunity.

Now does bromance = championship? So far to this point in the two’s NBA careers, the answer to that question is no. Really, it’s the only question that matters. A lot hinges on factors outside of Morey and Harden, mainly on Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey, Tobias Harris, and the rest of the Sixers who will also have to be exceptional if the team is to raise a Larry O’Brien next summer. But chemistry is rarely a bad thing. Maybe, just maybe, the lovefest between a President of Basketball Ops and his star point guard is enough of a spark to make something special happen this season in Philly.