The endless outpouring of rumors about whether aging star James Harden will stay with the Philadelphia 76ers or rejoin the Houston Rockets is almost over. The 33-year-old has now made a decision, and his future gets even more questions.
Harden has opted in to his $35.6 million dollar option, although the two sides will work together on a trade, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.
‘JUST IN: James Harden is opting into his $35.6 million deal for next season – in order for the 10-time All-Star and the 76ers to work together on a trade out of Philadelphia.'
Last season was a very promising one for Harden, who led the NBA with 10.7 assists per game while averaging 21.0 points. Despite being among the best players to hit free agency, his market consists of only two teams. The Sixers want to retain him as Joel Embiid's top co-star while the Rockets seemingly have him on a list of veteran players they want to help support their young core.
The latest slop from numerous insiders states that the Sixers are making good progress in their plan to bring Harden back. This goes in line with the Sixers' desire to keep him and the rumors surrounding Houston. The Rockets recently drafted a gifted playmaker in Amen Thompson and have reportedly shown interest in veterans like Fred VanVleet, Dillon Brooks and Brook Lopez. The noise that he is Houston bound has softened ahead of the official start of free agency, but the possibility is still in play, leaving some pressure on the Sixers.
As teams prepare for punishments that the new CBA will reportedly bring to the biggest spenders, James Harden is unlikely to get the four-year max deal he desires. Where James Harden goes next remains to be seen, but all signs point to him having played his final game with the Sixers.