Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 2, 2022
AP Photo/Matt Slocum

According to reports, contract negotiations between the Philadelphia 76ers and James Harden are set to begin.

Harden will meet with the 76ers on Long Island, New York, on Saturday to discuss a new contract, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

Harden opted out of the last year of his contract in order to negotiate a longer deal with the 76ers.

The expectation has always been that Harden would re-sign with the team, even though no official announcement has been made.

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported that Harden would sign with the 76ers after he declined his player option.

The decision to opt out was made in order to lower Harden's salary and give the 76ers more flexibility in signing other players.

According to reports, the 76ers have already signed veteran forwards P.J. Tucker, DeAndre Jordan and Danuel House to free-agent deals.

Philadelphia acquired Harden from the Brooklyn Nets for a package that included Ben Simmons and two first-round picks.

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It was a reunion for Harden and Morey, who were both general managers in Houston when Harden was there.

The 10-time All-Star, three-time scoring champion and one-time NBA Most Valuable Player played well in 21 games for the Philadelphia 76ers. Harden was more of a facilitation than a primary scorer.

The Philadelphia 76ers were eliminated by the Miami Heat in the second round of the playoffs despite a strong roster led by Embiid and Harden.

Bringing back Harden seems to be the best chance for the 76ers to contend.