Facing a decision on a $47.37MM player option for the 2022/23 season, star guard James Harden appears likely to pick up that option and then agree to a short-term extension with the Sixers, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said today during an appearance on SportsCenter (video link; hat tip to Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice).
“James Harden is headed toward opting in to that $47 million player option, and then extending by perhaps by as many as two more years, at a significant number with the Sixers,” Wojnarowski said. “Likely something short of a max contract, but still a significant commitment.”
Wojnarowski’s report is similar to one Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report published last week. Fischer said that “all signs point toward” Harden remaining with the 76ers on a short-term deal rather than signing a four- or five-year contract.
If Harden were to pick up his option and sign an extension in the coming days, he’d be eligible to receive up to about $101.95MM over two years, with his option salary bringing the three-year total to approximately $149.3MM. However, given Woj’s suggestion that an extension may fall a little short of a maximum-salary contract, the actual number would likely come in below that.
Even if Harden is willing to accept less than the max on his extension, it wouldn’t affect the Sixers’ salary cap situation for 2022/23, since his $47MM+ option salary would still be on the books in an opt-in-and-extend scenario.
Harden has until June 29 to officially finalize a decision on his player option. The 32-year-old would become an unrestricted free agent if he declines his option.