Philadelphia 76ers free agent star James Harden is returning to the franchise on a new two-year, $68.6 million contract, including a player option for the 2023-24 season, sources told ESPN on Wednesday.

The deal guarantees Harden $33 million for next season and the opportunity to decline his $35.6 million player option and negotiate another free agent deal next summer, sources said.

Harden, who had declined a $47.4 million player option for next season, delivered the 76ers salary-cap flexibility with his pay cut for 2022-23 -- allowing them to sign free agents P.J. Tucker and Danuel House by using the midlevel and biannual exceptions and facilitating the ability to acquire De'Anthony Melton in a draft night trade with Memphis.

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Harden -- a 10-time All-Star and a six-time first-team All-NBA guard -- told Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey that he wanted to do his part to fortify the team's roster and give it a better chance to compete for a championship.

Harden, who turns 33 next month spent only a year in Brooklyn, after his wildly successful eight-year run in Houston ended near the start of the 2020-21 season when he was sent to partner with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving on the Nets for a significant package of draft assets and players.

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