James Harden has declined his player option of approximately $47.4 million for the 2022-23 season, a source confirmed Wednesday to NBC Sports Philadelphia.J
Asked after the Sixers' season-ending loss to the Heat whether he'd exercise his option, Harden said, "I’ll be here, yeah.
Whatever allows this team to continue to grow and get better — and do the things necessary to win and compete at the highest level.”
Harden would enhance the Sixers' options in free agency by signing a new contract with a salary significantly under $47.4 million in Year 1.
Per Spotrac, the Sixers have 12 players under contract and an active roster cap of about $104.3 million with Harden declining his option.
With an updated salary cap projection of approximately $123.7 million, Spotrac's Keith Smith cites a new projected luxury tax apron of a shade under $157 million.
That's an especially relevant number for the Sixers because teams that use the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, use the bi-annual exception, or acquire a player through a sign-and-trade cannot exceed the apron.
We'll see exactly how negotiations pan out, but Charania writes in his story that "lowering Harden's salary from $47.4 million allows to offer free agents the $10.5 million non-taxpayer midlevel exception without any other moves,
There's been plenty of smoke linking the Sixers to Heat veteran P.J. Tucker, a former teammate of Harden's and small-ball center for Morey on the Rockets.
Though he didn't delve into any specifics, Morey said after his draft-night trade for De'Anthony Melton, "As you guys have heard, it’s a mutual lovefest (with Harden), so we feel like we’ll work it out.”