James Harden signed a below-market contract with the Philadelphia 76ers last offseason in hopes of helping the organization put together a time worthy of an NBA title. But after the 76ers flamed out in the postseason again, Harden now wants to get the money he missed out on.
According to Bleacher Reporter’s Chris Haynes, Harden is expected to opt out of his 76ers’ contract and test the free agency in the summer. The 33-year-old player has a $35.6 million option for 2023-24.
Haynes reports that Harden wants to get one last big NBA deal and is aiming to get a max contract in four years. He will also look for a team that has a “competitive roster” and “basketball freedom”.
It was long rumored that Harden might return to the Houston Rockets, but now that seems like a long shot due to the “competitiveness” requirement. The former NBA MVP is also being linked with the Phoenix Suns, but that doesn’t seem to be a realistic option due to his contractual demands.
The 76ers are still the most likely team to have Harden on their roster next season. They can offer him the most money and have a competitive roster despite their playoff struggles this year. Also, they have fired head coach Doc Rivers, who reportedly didn’t see eye-to-eye with Harden.
Harden averaged 21.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 10.7 assists per game in 2022-23. He missed out on the All-Star team selection, breaking his streak of 10 consecutive All-Star nods.