LOS ANGELES – NBA general manager James Harden and the Philadelphia 76ers are still working out the final details of a one-time extension contract that will see him take a $15 million deductible. But Harden said he is “locked in” by the Sixers and is eager to work.
In an interview with Yahoo Sports on Sunday, the 10-time All-Star revealed why he was willing to make financial sacrifices to improve the team, touched on the extras of the game, discussed where he is, talked about his friendship with. Joel Embiid and announced the launch of his first wine group, “J-Harden.”
At the end of the Sixers’ 2021-22 season, depth was identified as a major, glaring weakness. Harden and president of basketball operations Daryl Morey spoke shortly after the game about how the team will jump into next season.
“I talked to Daryl, and it was explained how we can get better and the market value of other players. I told Daryl to make it right, sign the ones we need to sign and give me what’s left,” Harden told Yahoo Sports. “That’s how I want to win. I want to compete. That’s all that matters to me right now. I’m willing to take a little to achieve that.”
The Sixers signed defensive tackle PJ Tucker away from Miami for three years, $33 million; forward signed Danuel House for two years, $8.5 million; picked up combo guard De’Anthony Melton via trade; and signed Trevelin Queen, 2021-22 G League MVP.
“I think we have a very deep team,” Harden told Yahoo Sports. “This is what we want to talk about. If you look at our team now, we are ready to go a lot further. I like how we are with all the other top teams.”
For the Sixers to reach their full potential, Harden needs to return to close to his usual form. The 2018 MVP had to deal with a lot of problems last season, including a minor right-sided injury.
He quickly drew criticism for his play in the 21 games he played in Philadelphia after being traded from Brooklyn. His numbers didn’t match his explosive streak, but the 32-year-old still averaged 21 points, 7.1 rebounds and 10.5 assists with the Sixers.
“I don’t listen to what people say. “I wasn’t good last season and I almost tripled,” Harden told Yahoo Sports. People were used to seeing me as having 40, 30 points, so they see it as a low year. I was in Philadelphia for a few months and had to learn on the fly. That’s just what it was. “I’m in a good place physically and mentally, and I’m just looking forward to next season.”
Harden and fellow superstar Embiid will be tasked with getting everyone on the same page.
“I talk to Joel regularly and we have meetings about how we play and what we need to do to make our team win the championship,” Harden told Yahoo Sports. “When you have two top players in their position in the same team, then I build well. We are growing together and trying to lead this team to the top. I believe we can do it together. “
For now, Harden is focusing on his outdoor activities.
He partnered with Accolade Wines to release his first signature wine, “J-Harden,” set to be available online and through leading retailers in the United States starting September 1. The retail price is expected to be $16.99.
“Harden and his team will also play a role in winemaking, design and style. The J-HARDEN logo will include Harden’s signature beard with bright colors and a floral design within the silhouette of Harden’s face, “according to the news release. “As a 10-year NBA All-Star and the third leading 3-pointer in NBA history , Harden wants to share his wine journey with fans on his social media accounts and introduce J-HARDEN to retailers and consumers around the world.”
“I wanted to make a wine that was cheap, but also had a problem,” Harden told Yahoo Sports. “If you look at the design of our bottle, it feels good. It has its own strength. It’s different from all the other wine bottles that are very similar. We wanted it to stand out and we’re connecting you with how it tastes. We have a California Cabernet Sauvignon and a California Red Blend. So we we have something for all wine connoisseurs. I’m very happy for this opportunity. I think consumers will really like this.”
Customers can register for the first release of “J-HARDEN” at www.j-hardenwines.com.