At a glance, James Harden declining his player option is bad news for the Philadelphia 76ers and their fans, particularly those who want him to stay. But in reality, Harden’s decision to do that might be the best news for Philadelphia.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that Harden is declining his $47.3 million option for the 2022-23 season. He also mentioned that this will give the 76ers more financial flexibility to improve the team.

Generally speaking, NBA fans loved the move for Philadelphia.

There were, of course, others wondering if turning down that kind of money is a smart decision.

While Harden is turning down a decent amount of money, he still figures to make a healthy bag for the upcoming season.

But while Harden will still make a lot of money for the upcoming season, turning down a net of roughly $10 million is notable. It also increases the pressure on the upcoming season.

There’s very little that Harden hasn’t accomplished. He was named one of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team, has made 10 All-Star Games, earned All-NBA honors seven times (with six of those being First-Team), won three scoring titles, an NBA MVP Award and an Olympic Gold Medal. One thing Harden has not done, though is win an NBA championship. This move was clearly made with that in mind.

If the 76ers can’t turn this into a championship, the move becomes a lot more questionable from Harden’s perspective. If, however, Philadelphia uses the extra money to add the additional pieces needed to get over the hump and win the franchise’s first championship since 1983, then we can safely assume that Harden will be happy with the decision.

[Adrian Wojnarowski]

About Michael Dixon

Michael has a background in sports writing both online (Bleacher Report, Sportsnaut, Fantasy Baseball Crackerjacks) and in print (Sedona Red Rock News, Brentwood Press). Sports have been a lifeline passion for Michael and he continues to enjoy writing and talking about them.