Sixers star James Harden commits to top Los Angeles squad
Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden has yet to change his player option for the 2022-23 season. He is expected to do so, but there is a chance he decides to enter free agency. The deadline for this decision is June 29.
Sixers Brass and Harden’s agency are rumored to be negotiating details of a team-friendly deal. Maybe he’s taking a pay cut to add a “third star”. Meanwhile, Harden will travel to California this summer to play in the Drew League after officially announcing his partnership with King Drew and Adidas.
The Drew League is a pro-am basketball showcase held every summer in Los Angeles since 1973. Their 49th season kicked off June 4 at King/Drew Magnet High School grounds in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles and the games are broadcast live on Caffeine.
Harden figures as one of the most high-profile players involved in 2022. There are 10 teams in two divisions for a total of 20 teams, 16 of which qualify for the playoffs. The championship game is scheduled for August 21. “No Excuse, Just Produce” is the league’s motto.
“King Drew continues to be the center of the LA community and I am thrilled with this new generation under the three stripes,” Harden wrote on Instagram. “See you this summer ya diggggggg!”
Harden played in the Drew League during the 2011 NBA lockout where he fought Kobe Bryant. The Los Angeles native won a championship in 2015 while playing for Unified Los Angeles and scored 37 points in the title game. Harden swept a three-pointer with 30 seconds left to clinch a 98-93 victory en route to Players Choice MVP honors.
According to The Athletic’s Law Murray, the Drew League will bring together six pro-am leagues from across the country in Los Angeles, including New York (Dyckman), Baltimore (Brunson League), Atlanta (Atlanta Entertainment Basketball League), Miami (Miami Pro League) and Philadelphia (Rumph Classic). This tournament will take place from July 24 to 26.
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Harden named ‘Top Tier: Max Guy’
The Athletic’s John Hollinger named Harden his “best free agent shooting guard” for 2022. There were 33 players on the roster divided into tiers.
Hollinger wrote the following excerpt about Harden’s impending free agency: “He might be tempted to just sign up for this season and try again for a big payday next summer when there’s a lot more potential teams as landing sites. Alternatively, signing a longer deal at less than the max money would go a long way to easing Philly’s luxury tax issues.
PJF Performance works with Sixers Star
Harden works with a longtime performance coach Paul Fabrice of PJF Performance this summer. Harden and Fabritz have trained together since 2017 and their hard work helped the 10-time All-Star earn MVP honors in 2018.
Coincidentally, Fabritz also struck up a relationship with Sixers star Joel Embiid over the years. PJP Performance’s mission statement states that they are “dedicated to helping athletes around the world reach their genetic potential.” Videos have already emerged featuring a “skinny and fit” version of Harden in various workouts.