Baltimore Sun

Harden, 76ers agree on 2-year deal


James Harden agreed to a two-year, $68.6 million deal to return to the 76ers, according to reports Wednesday night.

Harden will make $33 million during the 2022-23 season. The deal also includes a $35.6 million player option for 2023-24, allowing Harden to potentiall­y enter free agency again next summer.

The agreement comes less than a month after Harden declined his $47.4 million player option for the coming season, which allowed the 76ers to bolster their depth and toughness during free agency by signing veteran forward P.J. Tucker with the full mid-level exception and forward Danuel House with the biannul exception. It was reported earlier this month that Harden would take about a $15 million pay cut for this season.

The 76ers acquired Harden, the 2018 NBA MVP and a 10-time All-Star, at last season’s trade deadline in a blockbuste­r deal that sent Ben Simmons to the Nets. Harden, who turns 33 in August, averaged 21 points, 10.5 assists, and 7.1 rebounds in 21 regular-season games with the 76ers, becoming more of a facilitato­r and pick-and-roll partner with MVP runner-up Joel Embiid than the dominant scorer he was as a Rocket.

Cycling: Two-time defending Tour de France champ Tadej Pogacar claimed a third stage win as he sprinted away from Jonas Vingegaard in the punishing last climb of a grueling 80.8-mile trek in the Pyrenees but failed to take significan­t time out of the leader. With just one big mountain stage left and an individual time trial before the race reaches Paris on Sunday, Vingegaard looks set for his first Tour victory. Pogacar will have one last chance to unsettle the Jumbo-Visma team leader in the mountains during Thursday’s grueling final Pyrenean stage between Lourdes and Hautacam. After that, his last occasion to turn the race upside down will be Saturday’s time trial. Vingegaard, who now has an overall lead of 2 minutes, 18 seconds, was runner-up last year behind Pogacar.

Football: Texas A&M WR Ainias Smith was arrested early Wednesday on charges of driving while intoxicate­d, unlawful carrying of a weapon and possession of less than 2 ounces of marijuana, according to Brazos County (Texas) jail records. Smith, 21, posted $8,000 bond and was released. He has been suspended from the team per athletic department policy following his arrest. Smith is the Aggies’ top returning receiver after grabbing 47 catches for 509 yards and six TDs last season . ... Charles Johnson, a star WR at Colorado and firstround draft pick of the Steelers in 1994, died at age 50. The cause of death wasn’t yet known. He’d been working as the assistant AD at a high school in North Carolina. Johnson played five seasons for Steelers. He also spent two seasons with the Eagles, one with the Patriots and one with the Bills.

Soccer: Georgia Stanway scored an extratime winner to seal a 2-1 comeback win for host England over Spain on Wednesday to send her team to the semifinals of the Women’s European Championsh­ip.

Tennis: Four-time Grand Slam champ Naomi Osaka ended her three-year partnershi­p with coach Wim Fissette. Osaka, 24, won two of her Slam titles while working with Fissette.

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