Doc Rivers Addresses James Harden, Sixers' Offseason With Vince Carter

Doc Rivers
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Sports
Ernesto Cova

The Philadelphia 76ers have a lot on the line this season. They gave up a lot to land James Harden and made some big moves in the summer, but Doc Rivers could be on the hot seat after two disappointing seasons.

Also, Harden left much to be desired in his first playoff stint at Philly, which is why both know they need to be on their best behavior going forward.

Harden Is Working Hard

James Harden
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Fortunately, Harden is eager to live up to the challenge. He's been in constant contact with his coach and has put in a lot of work in the offseason:

“Too much. He calls me too much," Rivers told Vince Carter. "You can tell him that. He really does, it’s been great. He’s working. He’s working his butt off. I think about nine of the guys were in town last week and they worked out everyday together."

He's In Great Shape, Claims Rivers

James Harden
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Harden went viral a couple of weeks ago for how slim he looked in one picture. That was shocking given his reputation of being laid-back in the offseason:

"Vince, you know, when you start seeing that kind of stuff, that’s the guys, that’s the players getting each other," Rivers added. "When you see that, you know that’s a good sign. He works out with our development guys. They report back he’s in great shape. And he’s working his butt off. I saw him about four days ago and he looked great.”

Harden Helped Them Out

James Harden
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Rivers also praised Harden for taking a big discount in his new contract to help the team make some moves, lauding his accountability and humbleness to realize he had disappointed the fans in his first season:

“James did some good stuff this summer for the team, like giving up money. I always laugh at that, you know," Rivers said. "And it’s awesome, right, it’s awesome that he did that. And fans always like, ‘Yeah, that’s a great thing to do,’ yet there’s no businessman that would ever give up money for his own, you know. I always laugh at that, like athletes are supposed to, businessmen are not. But James in this case I thought was the perfect thing to do. He knew he was in a tough negotiating position himself from last year. He was honest about that."

It's All About Winning

James Harden
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Harden has drawn plenty of criticism for his careless attitude in the past. Now, he's proven that he's all about winning and will make basketball his top priority.

"He was like, ‘Listen, I want to win, how can we do that? How can I use my contract to help us win?’ So it just tells you that, right now, he is in the right place, and we needed him there, honestly, because we would not have been able to do what we did without the help from James this summer," Rivers concluded.

The Sixers will continue to be contenders for as long as Harden and Joel Embiid are healthy, which has been a big 'if' over the past couple of seasons.

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