Philadelphia 76ers star point guard James Harden intends to decline his $35.6 million player option from the Sixers, in turn making him an unrestricted free agent looking for a long-term deal this summer. Amid speculation of a reunion with the Houston Rockets, Harden will now look for a four-year contract where he is free to be himself, reports Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes.
Harden had a solid regular season, taking a dip in the scoring department in order to help Sixers’ Joel Embiid excel on his way to becoming the NBA MVP. While his scoring dropped to 21.0 points per game, he averaged 10.7 assists and led the league in the top passing category. However, it seems like he is looking for a team that will allow him to return to his former scoring self.
If he does end up leaving the Sixers, it will be an unceremonious end to his tenure. The Sixers looked like potential NBA Finals contenders as they brought the Boston Celtics to seven games, but a floundering performance in Game 7 ended their season. Harden and Embiid were outscored 51-24 by Jayson Tatum alone in the series-clinching affair, another blemish on both of their playoff resumes.
Following the Sixers playoff exit, Doc Rivers was dismissed of his head coaching duties by Daryl Morey. With James Harden now potentially leaving, it looks like once again the Sixers might be blowing it up. If Harden does return to the Rockets, it will be a team where he is definitely the number one scoring option. However, his chances of getting a ring will be much higher if he opts to stay with the Sixers. Either way, it will certainly be interesting to follow the future whereabouts of James Harden this offseason.
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