August 10, 2022

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Sources say James Harden rejects the option with the Philadelphia 76ers and becomes a free agent

Sources say James Harden rejects the option with the Philadelphia 76ers and becomes a free agent

Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden He turned down his $47.3 million option and became a free agent, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Wednesday.

Harden maintains the possibility of negotiating a new deal that would provide flexibility to build the Sixers’ roster in free agency — including the use of a full $10.5 million exemption.

In Harden’s talks with the team since the end of the season, he has widely shared his desire to help the organization reshape the roster toward contention for the championship, sources told ESPN.

Opting out could go a long way in reshaping the Sixers seat, including the full mid-level exclusion, the $4.1 million biennial exclusion and signature and trading deals.

Teams may begin negotiating deals with the free agents starting at 6 p.m. ET Thursday. However, these players cannot officially sign until 12:01 PM ET on July 6.

Harden, 32, averaged 22.0 points and 10.3 assists in 65 games with the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia last season, after being sent from Brooklyn to Philadelphia as part of a successful trade sent Ben Simmons in the other direction.

However, his arrival did not change things for Philadelphia in the playoffs, as he lost 76 players in the second round for the fourth time in five years and again failed to reach at least the Eastern Conference Finals.

Harden only spent one year in Brooklyn, after his highly successful eight-year career in Houston ended at the start of the 2020-21 campaign, when he was sent to the Nets for a batch of future draft assets to pair with both. Kevin Durant And the Keri Irving.

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Instead, the trio’s first season playoff round – which can easily be blamed on Irving’s sprained ankle and Harden’s hamstring injury – ended in a second-round loss to eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks.

Then, last season, Harden’s relationship with the Nets deteriorated in the wake of Irving’s inability to play due to the mandate of the COVID-19 vaccine in New York City. Harden was eventually shipped to Philadelphia, where he was reunited with Houston’s head of basketball operations, Daryl Morey.

ESPN’s Tim Bontemps contributed to this report.