James Harden’s midseason trade to the Philadelphia 76ers fell short of delivering a title to Philly. Today the former NBA MVP has just made a big decision on his contract for the 2022-23 season.
According to NBA insider Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, Harden is declining his $47.4 million player option for next season. However, he intends to return to the 76ers on a free agent contract that will give Philadelphia “financial flexibility to bolster the roster.”
The 76ers acquired Harden in a trade with the Brooklyn Nets, sending Ben Simmons, Andre Drummond and Seth Curry to Brooklyn. Based on the results, Philadelphia were the early winners of that trade.
At the time of that blockbuster trade, James Harden promptly made his intentions to opt into the 2022-23 season with the 76ers clear. But it appears he wants to make an even bigger commitment to Philadelphia than that.
The Philadelphia 76ers went 13-8 in games he started, during which he averaged 21 points per game. But in 12 playoff games, Harden averaged just 18.6 points, 5.7 rebounds and 8.6 assists per game as the 76ers were eliminated in the Conference Semifinals.
Philly must believe that Harden will return to form in the 2022-23 season. And with the added financial freedom this new deal might give, maybe they can do a little more this offseason.
Will James Harden and the 76ers make the NBA Finals in 2023?