NBA star James Harden is as ready as he’s ever been to set the basketball world on fire after images of his pre-season body spread around the internet.
The images, taken at P3 Sport Science in California, showed a buff and fit Harden after he went in for an assessment.
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Harden, who left the Houston Rockets after 10 seasons for the Brooklyn Nets, he moved on to the Philadelphia 76ers, linking with Joel Embiid in a trade which included Aussie Ben Simmons.
While the Sixers were again ousted in the second round of the playoffs by the Miami Heat in 2022, Harden is desperate to finally claim a ring.
The 2018 MVP and 10-time All-Star has long been criticised over commitment issues and has been criticised over his weight previously.
However, he looks to be in the shape of his life and fans are preparing for a massive season.
Fantasy sports writer Alex Rikleen wrote: “Harden is one of maybe 3ish players in the league for whom off-season workout photos would actually impact my ranks.”
Sixers beat writer Sean Barnard posted: “Shifting from Ben Simmons workout videos to Tyrese Maxey training clips and James Harden gym photos has been a refreshing change”.
The Pickswise Twitter account even tipped Harden for an MVP calibre season.
Harden is desperate to go to the next level in Philadelphia, even taking a $US14m ($A20m) pay cut for his new deal.
Harden had the option to take a $US47.4m ($A68.9m) extension for the season but took $US68.6m ($A100.1m) in a two-year deal, which guarantees $US33m ($A48m) for the coming season.
A report from ESPN’s NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski said the 76ers hoped Harden would return for the pre-season in better condition than he had been over the past couple of seasons, a box he appears to be ticking.
Speaking about the reason for the pay cut, Harden told Yahoo he was willing to do what it takes.
“I had conversations with Daryl (Morey), and it was explained how we could get better and what the market value was for certain players,” Harden said.
“I told Daryl to improve the roster, sign who we needed to sign and give me whatever is left over.
“This is how bad I want to win. I want to compete for a championship. That’s all that matters to me at this stage. I’m willing to take less to put us in position to accomplish that.”
Harden’s definitely doing his part.