Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden has reportedly declined his $47.3M option and will become a free agent, though intends to return, sources tell ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Harden is reportedly open to negotiating a new deal that would allow the Sixers roster-building flexibility in free agency including use of the full $10.5M exception.
With many of Philadelphia's starters stretched to the maximum during the playoffs, and with star centre Joel Embiid missing time with injury, their lack of depth was exposed showing a need to bolster the roster in the offseason.
The 10-time All-Star was traded to Philadelphia in a blockbuster deal last season from the Brooklyn Nets, marking his third team in two seasons after the Rockets traded Harden to the Nets in 2020-21.
Appearing in 21 games in his time with the 76ers during the 2021-22 season, Harden averaged an almost triple-double of 21 points, 10.5 assists and 7.1 rebounds per game.
The 76ers fell to the Miami Heat in six games in the Eastern Conference semi-finals, where Harden averaged 39.2 minutes, 18.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and seven assists per game in the series.