James Harden Intends To Decline Option, Seek Long-Term Deal

Sixers guard James Harden plans to turn down his $35.6MM player option for 2023/24 and seek a long-term contract, reports Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report. According to Haynes, Harden hopes to sign a four-year deal in free agency.

Harden will turn 34 in August, so this summer could be his last and best opportunity to secure a significant multiyear contract. He took a pay cut a year ago in order to give Philadelphia the cap flexibility necessary to add roster reinforcements.

The Rockets have been repeatedly linked to Harden since December, and those rumors have only intensified since the Sixers were eliminated from the playoffs over the weekend. However, sources tell Haynes that the former Arizona State standout will only consider suitors that can provide a “competitive roster and the basketball freedom” for Harden to be himself.

That makes Philadelphia the most logical option for now, according to Haynes, who suggests the Rockets would have to retool their roster to some extent if they’re committed to the idea of a reunion with Harden and want to sell the former MVP on the situation in Houston.

Although Harden missed out on All-Star honors this year for the first time since 2012, he still posted strong numbers during the regular season, averaging 21.0 points, a league-leading 10.7 assists, and 6.1 rebounds per game with a .441/.385/.867 shooting line in 58 appearances (36.8 MPG).

His playoff production was inconsistent — his overall averages of 20.3 PPG, 8.3 APG, and 6.2 RPG were solid, but he shot just 39.3% from the field during the postseason and averaged only 12.5 PPG in four losses to Boston.

Asked on Wednesday during his end-of-season media session about the possibility of retaining Harden for next season, Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey told reporters, “We can’t have those discussions yet, but we are interested in bringing him back” (Twitter link via Derek Bodner of The Daily Six).

When Morey was asked if that would mean signing Harden to a new contract, he responded, “Well, that’s the only way to do it,” signaling that the 76ers had been planning for the 10-time All-Star to opt out even before Haynes‘ report.

View Comments (41)