The Philadelphia 76ers made a championship or bust type of move when they sent Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and two first-round draft picks to Brooklyn for James Harden ahead of last season’s trade deadline. Now James Harden is doing his part to match Philly’s dedication to winning a ring with Harden in town by opting out of his 2022-23 player option that would pay him $47.4 million, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Opting out of his current contract will allow Harden to return to Philadelphia as a free agent and sign a new deal at a lower number than the $47.4 million that his option guaranteed him next season, freeing up financial flexibility for Daryl Morey and the Sixers to add to the Philadelphia roster as they gear up for another run at a Larry O’Brien Trophy next season.
Harden and the Sixers fell short of their goal last season, bowing out of the NBA Playoffs in the Eastern Conference Semifinals with Joel Embiid missing the first two games of the series against the Miami Heat.
Harden’s playoff numbers weren’t the greatest, as the 32-year-old averaged 18.6 points, 8.6 assists, and 5.7 rebounds across 12 playoff games for the Sixers.
While Charania didn’t report what Harden’s new salary might look like with Philadelphia, he did point out that the move will allow the Sixers to offer free agents the $10.5 million non-taxpayer midlevel exception without any other moves being made.