MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 10: James Harden #1 of the Philadelphia 76ers dribbles against P.J. Tucker #17 of the Miami Heat during the first half in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at FTX Arena on May 10, 2022 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

James Harden will return to the Philadelphia 76ers on a new two-year deal contract. The contract will be a total of $68.6 million, with a player option in 2023-24 season.

Harden is will make $33 million this season. Next season he will have a player option, he could opt-in and make $35.6 million or opt out and negotiate a new deal.

Harden had a player option for this upcoming season for $47.4 million but opted out of the deal. He took a 30% pay cut in order for the team to sign good free agents like Danuel House and P.J Tucker.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Harden told Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey that he wanted to do his part for the team to contend for a championship. Opting out of his $47.4 million deal gave the organization flexibility to make deals for players this season once the season is underway.

After their second round exit Harden did state that he would come back.

“Yeah, I’ll be here. Whatever makes this team, allows this team to continue to grow and get better and do the things necessary to win and compete at the highest level.” Said Harden

The organization is hoping for Harden to return to training camp in September in shape unlike last season with Brooklyn.

Harden averaged 22 points and 10.3 assists last season over 65 games for the Nets and Sixers. Brooklyn traded him in a blockbuster trade for Ben Simmons. For the fourth time in five year the Sixers were eliminated from the playoffs in the second round.

After a great eight-year run in Houston Harden was traded to the Nets in the beginning of the 2020-21 season. He was there to team up with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. They lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in the playoffs two years ago. Last season there was a lot of expectations for this team and they lived up to none of it. Harden’s rocky relationship with Irving was becoming too much since Irving didn’t want to take the Covid vaccine.

This season will be a season for Harden to prove everyone wrong. He took a pay cut for the team to get better and necessary places. Now he has to come to training camp in shape and stay in shape the whole year. This is the opportunity for him to be who he wants to be. He can become more of a playmaker and score when needed. Harden can put an end to a lot of criticism this year but it’s up to him on how he will approach this season.