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#pounditWednesday, July 17, 2024

James Harden to be traded after making surprise contract decision

James Harden looking on

Nov 15, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) arrives to Toyota Center prior to the game against the Indiana Pacers. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden and the Philadelphia 76ers are making a stunning move that puts another star on the market this offseason.

Harden has decided to pick up his $35.6 million player option for next season and will work with the 76ers on a trade, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The expectation is that Harden has played his final game in Philadelphia.

This comes out of nowhere, as it seemed almost certain that Harden was doing to decline the option and become a free agent. Recent reports had suggested that Harden and the 76ers were likely to reach some sort of agreement on a new long-term contract. However, Harden was going to want more than he would have been paid by simply picking up the option.

In all likelihood, there were growing indications that Harden was not going to get the kind of money he wanted. If the 76ers are unwilling to make any sort of long-term commitment to the guard, a trade was the only way out.

Harden was traded to the 76ers in February 2022 and played a season and a half with the team. He averaged 21 points and 11.7 assists per game for Philadelphia last season.

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