NBA rumors: James Harden’s REAL INTENTION behind opting into Sixers contract gets revealed

James Harden's player option could serve as a facilitator for a potential trade to the Los Angeles Clippers.


NBA rumors: James Harden’s REAL INTENTION behind opting into Sixers contract gets revealed

James Harden for the Philadelphia 76ers (Image via Yong Kim/TNS)

In an unexpected turn of events, James Harden has opted into his player option with the Philadelphia 76ers. Executives around the league speculated it was a move to facilitate a trade out of Philadelphia.

ADVERTISEMENT

Months after James Harden requested a trade from the Sixers, no trade has materialized for the superstar. Several trade offers were shot down due to Harden’s desire to play for the Los Angeles Clippers. Trade talks have quieted down in the past weeks but Harden’s player option can be the catalyst for a huge trade.

Harden’s decided to opt into his $35.6 million player option to push his trade request further. This decision places an additional financial burden on the Sixers, adding more pressure on the organization to fulfill his desire for a trade.

It was in the team’s desire to keep Harden along with Joel Embiid for another season. However, Harden’s continued effort made it impossible for the team to keep their superstar guard. As reported by Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype, “Harden knew the team he wanted to go to, the Clippers, and the only way to get there and get his money was to opt in because of their restrictions with the salary cap. There’s still been dialogue between the two teams.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Scotto also reported, “To my understanding, the best the Sixers would’ve considered was something along the lines of a two-year deal, which would’ve included a team option.” He added, “That type of short-term commitment wasn’t going to appeal to Harden.” 

James Harden’s camp has already made it clear that ‘The Beard’ wants the Clippers to be his next home. ‘Dialogues’ between the two teams have been intensifying with no concrete results as the Clippers are reluctant to add Terrance Mann into a trade package. Some sides of the Sixers are still pushing for James to stay but that is not likely to happen.

Related: Former Celtics star DISSES Dwyane Wade, claims James Harden is better because kids want to play like 76ers star and not Heat legend

Why did James Harden request a trade from the Sixers?

James Harden and Joel Embiid
James Harden and Joel Embiid (Credits: USA Today)

James Harden requested a trade from Philadelphia shortly after the season ended. The Sixers were knocked out of the second round of the 2023 Playoffs by the Jayson Tatum-led Boston Celtics resulting in turmoil within the organization. Recent reports suggest that a rift has emerged between Sixers President Daryl Morey and James Harden, resulting in a severed relationship and a noticeable disagreement between the two.

ADVERTISEMENT

Although the Sixers wanted to keep Harden for the years to come, salary complications and extension talks resulted to be the main reason for a trade request. It is important to note that Harden took a massive pay cut the previous season to help the team free up cap space to sign PJ Tucker. It was speculated that the organization would reward Harden with a massive contract but was only offered a two-year deal.

The underwhelming performance of James Harden during the 2023 Playoffs caused the team to reconsider their initial plan of overspending on him. Daryl Morey played a significant role in this decision by suggesting that Harden should consider taking a pay cut. Given Harden’s age of 34 and his disappointing postseason track record, many believe Morey’s decision is a wise move.

In Case You Missed It: