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Report: Harden exercises $35.6M option to facilitate trade from 76ers

Jesse D. Garrabrant / National Basketball Association / Getty

James Harden is opting into his $35.6-million contract for next season in order to work with the Philadelphia 76ers on a trade elsewhere, sources told The Athletic's Shams Charania.

The Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks are expected to be among the suitors for the 10-time All-Star, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Sixers did not see a long-term future with the 33-year-old Harden, sources told Charania.

The veteran guard is not extension-eligible because he signed a two-year contract last offseason, making him an unrestricted free agent in 2024, according to ESPN's Bobby Marks.

If Harden opted out of his deal, only teams with cap space would have been able to sign him outright. His former team, the Houston Rockets, projects to have the most cap space this offseason at $60.5 million, according to Spotrac.

Harden was interested in returning to Houston, but the franchise is increasingly focused on free-agent guard Fred VanVleet, sources told Wojnarowski.

Earlier in June, Harden was reportedly torn between re-signing with the 76ers or reuniting with the Rockets.

Harden played 79 regular-season games with the Sixers, averaging 21 points, 10.6 assists, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.2 steals. He was originally acquired from the Brooklyn Nets for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and two first-round picks in February 2022.

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