Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden is picking up his $35.6 million option and the sides are beginning to work together in exploring trade scenarios, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Thursday.
It’s expected that Harden has played his last game for Philadelphia, the sources said.
Harden, who will turn 34 in August, made his 10th All-Star team last season, finishing with 21 points, 6.1 rebounds and 10.7 assists per game. He led the NBA in assists — many of them going to Joel Embiid, who won his first Most Valuable Player award and led the league in scoring.
Embiid and Harden became the first teammates to lead the league in scoring and assists in the same season since Johnny Moore and George Gervin accomplished the feat with the San Antonio Spurs 40 years ago.
Despite championship expectations, the 76ers were knocked out of the postseason in the second round for the fifth time in six seasons. The Sixers fired Doc Rivers after the season, replacing him with former Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse.
Harden came to Philadelphia 18 months ago in a blockbuster deal with the Brooklyn Nets, one that saw Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and draft capital going the other way as Harden was reunited with 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, the man who brought him to Houston a decade ago.
ESPN’s Tim Bontemps contributed to this report.
Sources – James Harden opts in; 76ers to explore trade