James Harden shocked the basketball world today.
In an unprecedented move, the NBA superstar — who currently plays guard for the Philadelphia 76ers — rejected the team’s initial offer of more than $47.4 million to re-sign with the team.
The news was broken on Twitter by Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden is declining his $47.4 million player option for the 2022-23 season and intends to return on a contract in free agency that gives the team financial flexibility to bolster the roster, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 29, 2022
If James Harden had accepted the offer, he would have been one of the highest-paid players in the league today, according to Highly Clutch.
What’s more, the outlet confirms that Harden’s move serves as a stark contrast to the moves made by Russell Westbrook and Kyrie Irving — who re-signed their player deals with the Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets, respectively. With the signing of their respective deals, Westbrook and Irving both walk into the upcoming NBA season with guaranteed purses.
Yet, despite the shocking financial move, Harden’s fans had an almost universally positive reaction to the announcement.
I missed this one but this is how the Sixers get PJ Tucker. Harden taking a bit of a paycut to get the team the flexibility. Ultimately, I wonder how much he has left in the tank. He was banged up in the playoffs and fell off in the last 4 games of the ECFhttps://t.co/MYAVt2FOAj
— Mo Dakhil (@MoDakhil_NBA) June 29, 2022
Harden is making some steps to turn the narrative (and Philly fans) around. He will be a hero if he plays well this season and everything works out https://t.co/BuTQYduuXQ
— Jason Timperley (@jason_timperley) June 29, 2022
All of Philadelphia right now https://t.co/C6RzrTKOzm pic.twitter.com/diSzuHBgIM
— Louis Vuitton Ron (@The_BidnessMan) June 29, 2022
Some other NBA fans, too, took Westbrook to task for not doing the same thing for his own team.
Regardless of fan opinions, however, James Harden has his reasons for making the move he’s made. Let’s take a look at why he turned down a guaranteed $47 million paycheck.
The Initial Offer
The Philly Sports Network reports that James Harden’s initial $47.4 million option for the 2023 season would have made him a contract player for the Philadelphia 76ers.
What James Harden Agreed To
Since James Harden didn’t accept the $47.4 million offer, he will reportedly “work out a new contract with the team when NBA free agency opens.”
But this also means that the 76ers can take on other players that will, hopefully, earn them that much-coveted NBA Playoff win.
“The decision to take less money is extremely impactful on the Sixers’ offseason outlook. It is clear there are numerous holes on the current Sixers roster that were exposed in the playoffs last year,” reported the Philly Sports Network. “While James Harden drew quite a bit of criticism, the fact of the matter is the Sixers’ complimentary pieces were not championship caliber. The financial flexibility that will be unlocked by the decision by Harden will certainly go toward improving these players.”