James Harden Feb 25, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden (1) brings the ball up court against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first quarter at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden has the ability to test the free agency market this offseason if he decided not to exercise his player option with the Philadelphia 76ers. Based on his most recent career decision, it sure appears that’s his plan.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Harden has hired former Adidas executive Troy Payne to be his new agent. Payne has partnered with agents Mike Silverman and Brandon Grier to lead Equity Basketball.

This is notable because it’s the first time since 2017 that Harden will be represented by an agent. The last time Harden had a full-time agent it was Rob Pelinka, who moved away from being an agent to work in the Los Angeles Lakers front office.

Harden declined his $47.4 million player option last summer to return to the 76ers, signing a two-year, $68 million deal with a player option. By taking a pay cut of almost $15 million, the 76ers had the financial flexibility to sign P.J. Tucker and Danuel House.

The 33-year-old is currently averaging 21.5 points, 10.8 assists, and 6.2 rebounds per game as he’s helped the 76ers to a 37-19 record. He’s also shooting 38.8 percent from the 3-point range, his best percentage since 2011-12. All of this means this could be the time for Harden to strike for his next big contract, be it with Philadelphia or elsewhere (Houston, perhaps?).

[The Athletic]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.