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NBA free agency: James Harden reportedly agrees to $70M deal to remain with Clippers

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NBA free agency: James Harden reportedly agrees to $70M deal to remain with Clippers


James Harden is staying with the Clippers.

The 10-time All-Star and former league MVP agreed a two-year, $70 million contract to remain in Los Angeles, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports. The contract will include a player option in the second season, according to the report.

News of Harden’s deal arrived on Sunday hours before the Clippers announced that Paul George was leaving in free agency. It’s not clear where he’ll land, but George told the Clippers he wouldn’t return to the team after the two sides failed to reach an agreement on a new contract. The Philadelphia 76ers are reportedly frontrunners to land the nine-time All-Star wing.

Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook appears to be headed for another team as well. Shortly after free agency negotiations opened on Sunday, sources told Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer that the Clippers are working to find a trade partner for the veteran point guard.

At 34 years old, Harden is not the same player who won three scoring titles and an MVP in his prime. He took on an unfamiliar role with the Clippers last season as the third scoring option behind Leonard and George.

His 16.6 points per game marked his lowest scoring average since he came off the bench in Oklahoma City behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in 2011-12. It’s the first time since that season that he averaged fewer than 20 points per game.

He led the Clippers with 8.5 assists alongside 5.1 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game. His 4.8 free-throw attempts per game were the third-fewest of his career.

Harden also had his healthiest campaign in years. He played 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 their big three, Los Angeles finished in fourth place in the West at 51-31. With Leonard hobbled and absent for four games, the Clippers suffered a disappointing first-round playoff loss to the eventual Western Conference champion Dallas Mavericks.

Harden is still capable of putting up points when needed. He upped his scoring while averaging 21.2 points, eight assists and 4.5 rebounds per game with Leonard sidelined for most of that series. He scored 33 in a Game 4 road win against the Mavericks.

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





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