Philadelphia 76ers superstar James Harden has declined his $47.3 million option and will become a free agent. Sources told ESPN’s Senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski the news on Wednesday (Jun.29).
James Harden Is Betting On Himself
Per ESPN, Harden declining his option isn’t doom for the Philadelphia 76ers as the team will still have a chance to negotiate a deal with the NBA All-Star, and it will give them plenty of flexibility to build a roster and go after some free agents. The team will also have full use of its $10.5 million exception.
In Harden’s conversations with the team since the end of the season, he has shared extensively his desire to help the organization reshape the roster toward championship contention, sources told ESPN.
The opt-out could go a long way in reshaping the Sixers’ bench, including that full midlevel exception, the $4.1 million biennial exception, and sign-and-trade deals.
Teams may begin negotiating deals with free agents starting at 6 p.m. ET Thursday. However, those players cannot officially sign until 12:01 p.m. ET on July 6.
James Harden has been a shell of his former self since leaving his unceremonious exit from the Houston Rockets. A very unhappy Harden was dealt from the Rockets to the Brooklyn Nets, where he spent just one season with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
Eventually, he would throw up his hands and demand a trade from Brooklyn again, becoming annoyed with Kyrie Irving, the anti-vaccine situation, and Irving’s part-time player status. The Nets would work with the Sixers to swap disgruntled superstars taking Ben Simmons off their hands in exchange for Harden’s services.
What Version of James Harden Will We See Next Season?
During his time with both the Nets and Sixers, Harden averaged 22.0 points and 10.3 assists across 65 games. Unfortunately for Philly fans, his addition wasn’t enough to get them over the hump, and they were bounced from the NBA Playoffs in the second round for the fourth time in five years.
What version of Harden the Sixers will get next year if they resign remains a mystery. Will it be the James Harden from the Rockets who was a walking bucket or the same version from last year?
We shall see.
James Harden’s decision to decline his option isn’t even the biggest news of NBA free agency. Right now, Kevin Durant, Harden’s former teammate, is the current topic of the sports world after demanding a trade from Brooklyn.
Photos: Michael Reaves / Getty
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