According to our reliable sources, James Harden, the great guard for the Philadelphia 76ers, has declined his $47.3 million player option and will become a free agent.
With each passing day, Harden makes it more likely that he and the Sixers may work out a new contract that gives them more leeway when it comes to developing their team in the upcoming free agency period. Since the end of the season, Harden has talked extensively with the team about his desire to help the franchise reorganise the squad in order to compete for a title, sources say.
Including the whole midlevel exception, the $4.1 million biennial exception, and sign-and-trade transactions, opting out may have a significant impact on the Sixers’ bench. Starting at 6 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, teams can begin contract negotiations with free agents.
However, until 12:01 p.m. ET on July 6, those players cannot be formally signed. Since being traded from Brooklyn to Philadelphia in the blockbuster deal that sent Ben Simmons the other way, 32-year-old Houston Rockets star James Harden has averaging 22.0 points and 10.3 assists per game this season.
In the playoffs, however, the 76ers lost in the second round for the fourth time in the last five years, despite the entrance of a new player. After an eight-year career in Houston that ended just before the start of the 2020-21 season when he was traded to the Nets for a slew of future draught prospects to team with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, Harden played just one season in Brooklyn.
Instead, the team’s inaugural playoff run ended in a second-round loss to the eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks due to a sprained ankle by Kyrie Irving and a hamstring injury by James Harden.
When Irving was unable to participate because of New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine obligation, Harden’s relationship with the Nets deteriorated. Houston Rockets head of basketball operations Daryl Morey was reunited with Harden in Philadelphia.