The NBA free agency period doesn’t begin until June 30, but until then, now is the time to discuss what the Philadelphia 76ers will do with James Harden who is going to opt out of his $35.6 million player option for the 2023-24 season .
There is a thought around the league that Harden will almost certainly be headed back to the Houston Rockets, but maybe that is just a leverage play in order to coax more money out of the Sixers.
The Sixers are going to play the situation as best they can. President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey obviously has a great relationship with Harden and the team is going to work with The Beard to make a contract work for both sides.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst hops on ESPN’s “Pardon The Interruption” and he spoke on the Harden negotiations:
The 76ers have not shown an appetite to pay Harden the maximum. That’s why they asked him to take a pay cut last year. The Rockets have the cap space. Do they do it? You know, there’s been a very hard rumor out there in the NBA about Harden’s intent to go back to Houston and it makes you wonder if it’s being sold a little bit too hard and that’s certainly something that people are considering. I guess we’re gonna wait and find out, but again, just like with Kyrie (Irving), the Sixers are not really motivated to pay him that max salary if they don’t think anybody else is gonna do it.
Harden himself had a very solid season. He led the league in assists at 10.7 and he shot a career-high 38.5% from deep. Those are very good numbers. However, his up-and-down performances in the playoffs make one wonder if he should get the $200 million he is looking for.
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Story originally appeared on Sixers Wire