James Harden has opted out of his contract with the Philadelphia 76ers and will now become a free agent, though he is expected to remain with the Sixers.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Harden has declined his $47.3 million player option with the Sixers in a move to renegotiate a new deal that will be beneficial to both sides.
ESPN Sources: 76ers star James Harden has declined his $47.3M option and become a free agent. He keeps real the possibility of negotiating a new deal that would deliver the Sixers roster-building flexibility in free agency – including use of the full $10.5M exception.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 29, 2022
To recall, it has been reported earlier that the Sixers are chasing PJ Tucker and it’s basically a “done deal” for a three-year contract worth $30 million. However, there’s a catch: they would need to clear A LOT of cap space if James Harden were to opt-in to his $47.3 million option.
The possibility of Harden opting out has been discussed as a possibility, but given the amount of money he’s leaving on the table, it wasn’t a guarantee.
It is certainly a great sign that Harden is working with the Sixers to improve the roster by giving them some flexibility. Now, the next step for both sides is to come up with a new deal that will allow Philly to still chase and add for improvements on the team to make a championship contender.
James Harden will decline his $47.3 million player option for the 2022-23 season, per @wojespn.
Harden plans to return to the Sixers on a deal that offers some more financial flexibility. pic.twitter.com/1fupT6J5oS
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) June 29, 2022
Harden and the Sixers had title aspirations last season, but their championship hopes quickly dispersed after The Beard struggled to get his rhythm with Philly and they suffered a second-round exit at the hands of the Miami Heat.
This time, it is clear Harden and the rest of the team have eyes on the big prize and nothing else.