James Harden Reunion for Former NBA Champion Seems Imminent as $30 Million Decision Awaits 37 Year Old NBA Star

Published 06/29/2022, 8:00 AM EDT
Mar 10, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden (1) during warmups before the game against the Brooklyn Nets at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

With the NBA free agency looming upon us, franchises are aiming to strengthen their rosters for the upcoming season. Another eventful free agency seems to be on the cards, with several prominent players likely to don the stripes of different teams next season. The Philadelphia 76ers are slated to be one of the most active teams in the offseason. The franchise will be aiming to put the right pieces alongside their star-studded core of Joel Embiid and James Harden.

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P.J. Tucker is one name that has been coming to the fore for the Sixers. The signing of the 35-year-old appears to be a done deal for the franchise, which seeks to bring in a veteran presence.

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Tucker, who won the chip with the Milwaukee Bucks last year, brought his in-your-face defense to the Miami Heat last offseason. After just one season, however, his time in Florida seems to be coming to an end. The forward is expected to sign a three-year, $30 million contract with the Philadelphia Sixers. Tucker, reportedly, is opting to suit for the Sixers over staying in Miami or heading back to Milwaukee.

Tucker does tick a number of boxes for the Sixers. His game might not reflect on the stat sheet; however, he’s an expert in doing all the “dirty work”. The forward will bring a new lease of life and mental toughness to the Sixers, something they lacked the previous season. His stalwart defense, ability to knock down threes at a good rate, and experience make him a valued asset to any squad.

The 76ers’ acquisition of P.J. Tucker will reunite him with James Harden

Tucker’s signing with the Sixers will reunite him with former teammate James Harden. Both players were prominent parts of some of the finest Houston Rockets squads under Daryl Morey’s reign.

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With Harden being at his MVP level, and Tucker being the stalwart defensive forward he still is, they propelled the Rockets to newer heights.

Though they never advanced past the Western Conference Finals, the Rockets of that period posed a threat to the league’s finest teams. The Sixers now have the capability of posing a similar threat to other teams. With Joel Embiid and James Harden paving the charge and the addition of an experienced force like Tucker to the locker room, the Sixers appear formidable.

Tucker’s move to the Sixers looks to be imminent, but there’s a lot more to it. According to reports, if James Harden opts into his $47.36 million player option, the team will not have the financial room to acquire Tucker.

If The Beard exercises his player option, Philadelphia will have committed to 13 players at about $146 million in salaries. That means the Sixers will be above the cap and will be able to give newcomers only minimum deals or mid-level exceptions for roughly $6.5 million. The Sixers, however, have several players they can move to clear some cap space.

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The Sixers recently acquired De’Anthony Melton, so relocating him isn’t a realistic option for them. Furthermore, he is a valuable asset who can contribute on both ends of the floor. As a result, the Sixers may make players like Matisse Thybulle or Furkan Korkmaz available on the trade market.

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How will the Sixers fair in NBA free agency? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Ritvik Malhotra

306 articles

Ritvik is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Having completed his Bachelor's in Journalism and Mass Communication from Amity University, Ritvik has finally got his foot in the door as a professional sports writer. He previously interned at another media house where he authored over 150 soccer articles, but he is now writing about his primary obsession, basketball.

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