Harden turned down a player option for $47 million and will instead make $33 million this season. He made his thoughts known in an interview with Joe Vardon of The Athletic.
“Nope, but guess what? I don’t care,” Harden said, via Vardon. “There’s like a stereotype (of Harden) where people always want to talk. People don’t really know me, so they feel like they can just say anything. One thing I won’t do is give them any attention. I won’t say anything, media-wise, publicly. I don’t care, because I’m comfortable and I’m confident in the things I do on and off the court.”
The Sixers expect to compete for a title with the likes of Harden, center Joel Embiid, forward Tobias Harris and ever-improving guard Tyrese Maxey. With that in mind, Harden isn’t all that concerned with individual stats.
“At this point, (big) numbers are great, but whether I’m averaging 22 or 28 (points per game), I think it’s more that I’m making an impact on the game each and every night,” Harden said, via Vardon. “I don’t really think about numbers. I don’t think I’ve ever thought about numbers, honestly. … Ultimately, it’s winning a championship. The numbers don’t really mean anything, individually.”
Shooting guard Quentin Grimes won’t start to open the season, but he is expected to be a major part of the rotation, coach Tom Thibodeau indicated.
“No one’s close to putting the amount of work that he puts in,” Thibodeau said, via Fred Katz of The Athletic.
Grimes, 22, is 6-foot-5 and averaged 6.0 points on 40 percent shooting, including 38 percent on 3-pointers, as a rookie last season. He has been the subject of trade rumors, including those involving guard Donovan Mitchell, who was instead sent from the Jazz to the Cavaliers.
“My name was in the trade rumors last year at the trade deadline, they called me and were like, ‘Thibs love you. …We love your work ethic,’” Grimes said, per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.
- The fact the Knicks didn’t go all in on Mitchell can be considered a good thing, per John Hollinger of The Athletic. They may be headed for another year in NBA purgatory, but at least they didn’t mortgage the future, Hollinger indicated in his season preview.
The decision on the Nets’ final starting spot appears to be coming down to Joe Harris or Royce O’Neale at small forward, per Brian Lewis of the New York Post. O’Neale was acquired in a trade with the Jazz during the offseason.