Harden returns to Los Angeles in Clippers’ first move of NBA free agency

The Los Angeles Clippers want to win, and they want to win in their new arena, Intuit Dome, which opens for the 2024-25 season in Inglewood, California.

To ensure they remain a playoff team with the possibility of playing deep into May and possibly June, the Clippers will bring back 10-time All-Star guard James Harden on a two-year, $70 million deal, a person familiar with the agreement told USA TODAY Sports.

The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly until the deal is official.

The Clippers were 51-31 and lost to the Dallas Mavericks, the eventual Western Conference champions, in a six-game first-round playoff series.

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Harden, 34, averaged 16.1 points, 8.5 assists and 5.1 rebounds, while shooting 42.8% from the field and 38.1% on 3-pointers. Against the Mavericks, he averaged 21.2 points, 8 assists and 4 rebounds and shot 44.9% from the field and 38.3% on 3-pointers.

The Clippers have other moves to make. Paul George is a free agent, and it there is a growing possibility that the Clippers will try to trade Russell Westbrook, who exercised the $4 million player option on his contract for 2024-25.

In May, the Clippers signed Coach Ty Lue to an extension that makes him one of the highest-paid coaches in the league at $10 million-plus per season.

The Intuit Dome is a $2 billion arena and may play host to basketball at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. But first, the Clippers want to play host to playoff basketball in the arena with Harden leading the way.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY