A league source has verified to CBS News Philadelphia that James Harden has exercised the opt-in clause in his $35.6 million contract. This will allow the Philadelphia 76ers and the former Most Valuable Player, who is now 33 years old, to negotiate a move away from the team.
It was thought that Harden would opt out of his agreement and renegotiate a new contract with the Sixers on a new deal to return to Philadelphia before the opening of NBA free agency on Friday, but it looks like he has played his last game as a Sixer.
The Sixers reportedly made it very plain throughout the process that they did not envision a long-term future with Harden for the organization. This was reported by The Athletic.
According to The Athletic, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Miami Heat are the teams who are most likely going to emerge victorious in the Harden sweepstakes. Additionally, earlier this week, it was claimed by The Athletic that the Los Angeles Clippers are a “dark horse” in the process of getting Harden.
James Harden, 76ers begin working on a trade out of Philadelphia — with the Los Angeles Clippers expected to emerge as an interested team in Harden, league sources say.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 29, 2023
Details at @TheAthletic: https://t.co/FLYnbWVHj9
It has been claimed that the Clippers have spent the offseason trying to determine how much they might get for Paul George in a deal. The Los Angeles Lakers have a number of role players that the Philadelphia 76ers may be interested in acquiring, including Philadelphia native Marcus Morris, Norman Powell, and Robert Covington, who formerly played for the Sixers.
The Clippers also feature Kawhi Leonard, who was a member of the Toronto Raptors team that won the NBA Finals in 2019 under the direction of Nick Nurse, who is now the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers. Both Leonard and George have had a difficult time maintaining their health over the course of the last few seasons, but they are both great wing players who Philadelphia should be interested in acquiring.
Harden, who was born and raised in Los Angeles, would be returning to his hometown if he signed with the Clippers and played for the western conference team. He played collegiate basketball at Arizona State before being selected third overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2009 NBA draft. Since then, he has been a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
After making it to the NBA Finals for the second consecutive year as the eighth seed, the Heat is seeking to construct their team around Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.
According to The Athletic, the Sixers have reportedly already begun the process of negotiating and discussing potential Harden deals with other clubs. Teams from across the NBA that talked with The Athletic indicated that it is possible that a star like Harden will arrive at his chosen destination as a result of a trade.
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement will go into effect on July 1, so it’s possible that clubs may be interested in finalizing a deal sooner rather than later. If Harden is acquired after the first of July, the outgoing salary that is necessary to trade for him jumps from $28.5 million to at least $32 million.
Over the course of the previous several months, the Houston Rockets have been discussed as a possible landing site for Harden; however, it looks like Harden will not be returning to his former home with the Rockets.
The speculations that the Sixers are seeking to trade forward Tobias Harris have led to the revelation that the Sixers are trying to make a deal with James Harden.
Harden was obtained from the Brooklyn Nets in February of the 2021-22 season as part of a trade package that also involved the departure of Ben Simmons from the Philadelphia 76ers.
In addition to acquiring Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and two first-round selections, the Sixers were also able to acquire Paul Millsap as part of the transaction.
Harden just completed a regular season in which he recorded an average of 21 points, 10.7 assists, and shot 38.5% from beyond the arc.
The Sixers concluded the regular season with a record of 54-28, which was their best mark since 2001. As a result, they earned the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. As a team with Joel Embiid, the reigning MVP, they were the first partnership in the NBA since 1981 to reach this milestone. He led the NBA in assists, while Embiid topped the NBA in scoring.
ESPN story on James Harden opting into his $35.6 million contract, clearing way for a trade out of Philadelphia: https://t.co/JxIFXQ2hfr— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 29, 2023
However, despite prevailing over the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs and progressing to the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Sixers’ season was ultimately cut short in a manner that was once again unsatisfactory by losing to the Boston Celtics in seven games.
Harden turned in outstanding performances in Game 1 sans Embiid and Game 4, but his absence from Games 6 and 7 was a contributing factor in the team’s elimination in the second round once again.
This coming Friday marks the beginning of free agency, and the Sixers have a few more difficult choices to make.
On the verge of becoming unrestricted free agents are Georges Niang, Jalen McDaniels, and Shake Milton, while an extension for Tyrese Maxey is on the horizon.
On Wednesday, the Sixers are said to have made a qualifying offer to Paul Reed, which means that he is now a free agent without any restrictions.
Q1. What sport does James Harden play?
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, one-time NBA MVP James Harden has exercised his player option to remain with the 76ers at a salary of $35.6 million while he negotiates a trade away from Philadelphia.
Q2. Where will James Harden be traded to?
Harden, who is now 33, had a season in which he averaged 21 points and 10.7 assists a game. Along with Paul Millsap, he was part of the package that sent Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and two first-round selections from Brooklyn to Philadelphia in 2022.