Soon after being traded from the Brooklyn Nets to the Philadelphia 76ers in February, former MVP James Harden made it known that he intended to exercise his $47.3 option to stay with his new club next season. In May, shortly following Philadelphia’s postseason elimination at the hands of the Miami Heat, president of basketball operations Daryl Morey doubled down on the anticipated return of Harden.
On Thursday, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer had further details.
“Harden and Sixers leadership are aligned on one clear directive, sources said: The franchise’s best opportunity to compete for a championship starring Joel Embiid, as well as Harden’s optimal opportunity to earn his first NBA ring, resides with Harden playing in Philadelphia for the foreseeable future,” Fischer wrote. “Sixers ownership, though, has been resistant to the idea of giving Harden a full four-year maximum contract extension beyond his 2022-23 option season, sources told B/R, or the five-year deal that Harden would be eligible for if he chose to decline his $47.4 million player option for next season. Signing perhaps a two-year extension after his option season to create a new three-year framework would also provide Harden with greater optionality for his own career.”
On Harden, Fischer noted that it would “behoove him financially” to wait until Aug. 10 before signing an extension. That would mark more than six months after the blockbuster trade that sent Ben Simmons and others to Brooklyn, which, according to Fischer, would then allow the team to offer the 10-time All-Star more than “105 percent of his 2022-23 salary in the first year of a two-year extension, followed by a 5 percent raise for the second year, for a rough total of $149.3 million through 2024-25.”
“If Harden waits until Aug. 10 to sign his extension, he could receive an 8 percent raise on the second year of the extension, which would net him a total of $150.8 million, according to cap calculations provided to B/R. If Harden opts out, the maximum he can earn on a new three-year deal would be $150.7 million,” Fischer wrote.
It was reported on Wednesday that the 76ers were making calls to teams to gauge interest in players on their roster like Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle and others, which could help the organization build around Embiid and Harden.