Sixers’ James Harden Declines Player Option, Intends to Remain in Philadelphia: Report

Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden has declined his $47.4 million player option for the 2022-23 season but intends to return to the team on a new contract, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. 

The move is meant to give the Sixers more flexibility in free agency in order to build a championship-level roster around Harden and five-time All-Star Joel Embiid. 

 

Philadelphia acquired Harden from the Brooklyn Nets in a February trade that saw the Sixers part ways with disgruntled point guard Ben Simmons. The move was looked at as a win-win for both sides at the time of the trade, as both teams were moving on from stars that no longer wanted to play in their respective cities. 

But Simmons never played a minute in Brooklyn due to injuries, and Harden was nowhere near his MVP-level self in Philadelphia. 

The Sixers are Harden’s third team in less than two years, and as the 10-time All-Star ages, the window for a championship gets smaller every day. Philadelphia once again failed to reach the Eastern Conference Finals, losing to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. 

According to Charania, the decision by Harden to opt out was solely done in order to help Philadelphia win a championship next year. 

Written by Joe Morgan

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