James Harden decided to be a free agent this summer

Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden plans to decline his $35.6 million player option to become an unrestricted free agent this summer in order to secure a long-term deal, league sources tell Bleacher Report.

Harden, 33, took a sizable pay cut last season to help the Sixers build the roster. The guard will now seek a four-year contract.

The 10-time All-Star is coming off a year averaging a league-leading 21 points, 6.1 rebounds and 10.7 assists.

The Houston Rockets have long been a rumored destination, but Harden will only entertain suitors who present a competitive roster and the freedom to be himself, sources say.

Right now, the Sixers are the only logical option, having finished third at the end of the regular season in the Eastern Conference. But the dynamic in Philly will undoubtedly change next season, considering the Sixers need to find the right coach after Doc Rivers’ exoneration.

If Houston is all-in on a James Harden free agent reunion, it will take some roster rebuilding to attract the Beard. Houston has a core of promising youngsters that includes Jalen Green, Jabari Smith Jr. and Alperen Sengun, along with the No. 4 pick in the upcoming draft.

Read also: Draymond Green: “If I hadn’t punched Poole right now we’d still be in the title race.”

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