July 17, 2024

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NBA Free Agency: James Harden Agrees to $70 Million Deal to Remain with Clippers

NBA Free Agency: James Harden Agrees to  Million Deal to Remain with Clippers

James Harden will remain with the Clippers.

The 10-time All-Star and former league MVP has agreed to a two-year, $70 million deal to remain in Los Angeles, Reports from The Athletic’s Shams CharaniaIt will include the contract Player option in Season 2according to the report.

News of the Harden deal broke Sunday, hours before the Clippers announced Paul George would leave in free agency. It’s unclear where he’ll land, but George has told the Clippers he won’t be returning to the team after the two sides failed to reach an agreement on a new contract. The Philadelphia 76ers are said to be the favorite to land the nine-time All-Star wing.

Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook appears to be headed elsewhere as well. Shortly after free agency opened on Sunday, sources told Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fisher that the Clippers are working on finding a trade partner for the veteran playmaker.

Late Sunday, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports Former Dallas Mavericks guard Derrick Jones Jr. has agreed to sign a three-year, $30 million contract with the Clippers.

Harden, 34, is not the same player who won three scoring titles and an MVP early in his career. He played an unfamiliar role for the Clippers last season as the third scoring option behind Leonard and George.

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He scored 16.6 points per game, his lowest scoring average since he came off the bench in Oklahoma City for Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in 2011-12. This is the first time since that season that he scored less than 20 points in a game.

He was the Clippers’ leading scorer with 8.5 assists along with 5.1 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game. He averaged 4.8 free throw attempts per game, the third-fewest of his career.

Harden also had his healthiest season in years, playing in 72 games for the Clippers, the first time he’s played more than 68 games since the 2018-19 season.

With Harden joining the Clippers as the third member of the Big Three, Los Angeles finished fourth in the West at 51-31. With Leonard floundering and missing four games, the Clippers suffered a disappointing first-round loss to the Western Conference champion Dallas Mavericks.

Harden still managed to score when needed. He upped his scoring averages to 21.2 points, eight assists and 4.5 rebounds per game with Leonard sidelined for most of the series. He scored 33 points in his team’s home win in Game 4 against the Mavericks.

Harden’s individual resume is complete. But he is still seeking his first NBA title as he approaches his 16th season.