James Harden to test free agency this summer?

·5 min read

Harden remains invested in competing for the title in Brooklyn this season, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation. But Harden has recently informed several confidants—including former teammates and coaches—of his interest in exploring other opportunities outside of Brooklyn this summer, league sources told B/R.
Source: Jake Fischer @ Bleacher Report

What’s the buzz on Twitter?

Stefan Bondy @SBondyNYDN
Here we go — According to this report, James Harden not happy living in Brooklyn, frustrated with Kyrie’s part-time status and will test free agency.
bleacherreport.com/articles/29527…11:00 AM

Jake Fischer @JakeLFischer
Ever-important behind Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons trade talks, James Harden has recently told several confidants—including former teammates and coaches—of his growing interest to explore other opportunities outside of Brooklyn this summer. More at @BR_NBA: bleacherreport.com/articles/29527…10:31 AM

Alex Schiffer @Alex__Schiffer
Today’s story is up. In light of the ⁦@The Athletic⁩’s story on James Harden and Philly, we are months away from dealing with this, if at all. In the meantime, here are some things to keep in mind: theathletic.com/3090034/2022/0…10:07 AM

Keith Pompey @PompeyOnSixers
James Harden or bust? Sources indicate the Sixers are all-in even if it means prolonging the Ben Simmons saga inquirer.com/sixers/sixers-… via @phillyinquirer – 11:53 PM

Brian Lewis @NYPost_Lewis
James Harden knows #Nets must ‘do better at home’ nypost.com/2022/01/24/jam… via @nypostsports10:16 PM

Brian Lewis @NYPost_Lewis
James Harden-Ben Simmons trade rumors aren’t going away #nets nypost.com/2022/01/24/jam… via @nypostsports10:03 PM

Sam Amick @sam_amick
ICYMI, the Sixers have their sights set on a summer deal for James Harden and appear willing to hold onto Ben Simmons past this trade deadline. More here, with @Shams Charania, at @TheAthletic
theathletic.com/3088096/2022/0…8:07 PM

Sam Quinn @SamQuinnCBS
James Harden probably isn’t joining the 76ers, but I dove deep on the slim chance that he might and the obstacles to a deal, including:
– Philly’s hard cap concerns.
– Can the Sixers create cap space? (No).
– Does Harden have any leverage here?
cbssports.com/nba/news/no-ma…6:28 PM

Keith Pompey @PompeyOnSixers
“No one is giving up three picks and an A-level player, who may be a B next to Joel, just to get Ben back,” a league source said.
James Harden or bust? Sources indicate the #Sixers are all-in even if it means prolonging the Ben Simmons saga inquirer.com/sixers/sixers-…6:27 PM

NBA Math @NBA_Math
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MORE⬇️ pic.twitter.com/NL3gDMQtyg5:38 PM

Sopan Deb @SopanDeb
I disagree with the rumors that James Harden will sign with the Boston Celtics for the vet minimum this summer, although it would be great for his career. – 5:16 PM

Kyle Neubeck @KyleNeubeck
Alongside this morning’s Sixers-related Harden reporting, there was a refresh on teams who have discussed (recently or earlier in the season) the possibility of getting Simmons.
So which rumored suitors for Ben Simmons make most sense for deadline deal?
phillyvoice.com/nba-trade-dead…3:20 PM

Keith Pompey @PompeyOnSixers
James Harden or bust? Sources indicate the Sixers are all in even if it means prolonging Ben Simmons saga inquirer.com/sixers/sixers-… via @phillyinquirer – 3:20 PM

Tommy Beer @TommyBeer
RJ Barrett is one of six players averaging more than 22 points, more than six rebounds and more two made three-pointers per game in 2022.
The other five are James Harden, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Khris Middleton and LeBron James – 2:09 PM

Kurt Helin @basketballtalk
Report: James Harden chose Nets over 76ers with Rockets trade nba.nbcsports.com/2022/01/24/rep…12:39 PM

Kyle Neubeck @KyleNeubeck
James Harden to the Sixers rumors simply won’t die. What is the team thinking, why might Harden decide to make his way here, and how do you grapple with the long-term Harden bet now vs. a year ago: phillyvoice.com/nba-trade-rumo…11:27 AM

More on this storyline

Nets coach Steve Nash’s fluid rotations have also disappointed Harden, sources told B/R. Nash has favored hot-hand closing lineups, rather than a fixed crunch-time unit. His new city could also be an issue. According to multiple sources, Harden has not enjoyed living in Brooklyn, compared to his days as a central Houston magnate. Outside of the change in climate, the chasm between state taxes in New York versus Texas is quite obvious as well. -via Bleacher Report / January 25, 2022

If Harden opts into his player option for next season, he becomes eligible for a four-year, $227.2 million extension, which in total would give him a five-year, $274.7 million contract. If Harden opts out and the Nets re-sign him with his Bird Rights, the max he could make is $270 million over five years. The Sixers would prefer Harden opt out, because it doesn’t require the Nets’ participation to bring The Beard farther down Interstate 95. But given that Harden’s next contract will likely be the final big deal of his career, doing so makes no sense for him. Should Harden opt out and sign with another team in free agency, the max he could get is a four-year, $200.1 million deal. In short, unless Harden wants to leave $74 million on the table, the logical way he would change teams, if he chooses to do so, is through a sign-and-trade. -via The Athletic / January 25, 2022

James Harden or bust? That’s the feeling around the NBA as the 76ers search for ways to end the Ben Simmons saga. The Sixers are looking to trade Simmons, who has yet to play this season after requesting to be moved in August. “At the end of the day, it’s Harden all the way,” said a league source, speaking on condition of anonymity. “They want Harden whether they get him now. Whether they get him on a forced sign-and-trade this summer.” -via The Philadelphia Inquirer / January 24, 2022

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