As first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter, James Harden has opted into his 35.6-million-dollar option with the Sixers to work on a trade for him out of Philadelphia.
The 33-year-old point guard will have a number of suitors this offseason. His value as a player on the court and having an expiring contract will be good for the Sixers General Manager, Daryl Morey to get something in return for the 10x All-Star.
Harden opting in, instead of just walking, gives the Sixers a chance to bring a valuable piece back to the puzzle.
The Beard suited up for the Sixers in 79 games after he was traded from the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, and Andre Drummond during the 2021-22 NBA season. During his tenure here, Harden averaged 21 points, 10.6 assists, and 5.7 rebounds. Harden also had some memorable moments in the playoffs during his time here, including both highlights and lowlights.
Harden’s leadership and veteran presence cannot be understated.
Losing James will definitely have an impact on this Sixers’ team heading into next season. Watching him take Tyrese Maxey under his wing and helping him find both confidence in himself and his game was nothing short of amazing. The relationship he had with Joel Embiid was a symbiotic relationship at times. He gave Embiid his first true point guard during his time in the NBA and was instrumental in Embiid winning his first NBA Most Valuable Player Award.
With Harden now assuredly leaving Philadelphia, the question will remain as to whether or not Morey will trade Harden to an Eastern Conference team or he will send him back out to the Western Conference. Whatever the case may be, get ready for a bunch of conspiracy theories and rumors of what the Sixers could get in return for this perennial All-Star.