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?).