How James Harden’s contract and 2022 free agency impacts potential Nets trade

Nets All-Star James Harden has been the subject of debate forward of the NBA’s Feb. 10 commerce deadline.

How might he not be?

Brooklyn, entrenched in dissension, is within the midst of a free fall within the East standings whereas coping with numerous struggles. Because of this, Harden is reportedly not too happy with the scenario.

MORE: The newest James Harden commerce rumors

After deciding to not signal a contract extension with the Nets forward of the season, Harden can turn into an unrestricted free agent as quickly as this summer time, stirring up hypothesis that the Nets might try and commerce the previous MVP earlier than probably dropping him for nothing.

Whereas that is perhaps the worst-case situation, there are just a few situations wherein such a scenario might turn into a actuality.

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James Harden contract

Whereas with the Rockets in 2017, Harden agreed to a four-year, $171 million contract extension that had a participant choice for the 2022-23 season.

Harden, who’s incomes $44.3 million this season, has a participant choice price $47.4 million for the ultimate 12 months of his contract.

  2021-22 2022-23 2023-24
James Harden $44,310,840 $47,366,760 (PO)

PO: Participant choice

In October 2021, Harden elected to not signal a three-year, $161 million contract extension that might have stored him with the Nets via the 2025-26 season.

If Harden opts out of the ultimate 12 months of his contract, he could be an unrestricted free agent in 2022.

How a lot cash can James Harden earn with the Nets?

By electing to not signal an extension in 2021, Harden elevated his incomes potential.

If Harden elects to stay with Brooklyn within the 2022 offseason, he can accomplish that by opting in for subsequent season after which signing a four-year extension price roughly $227 million.

With a five-year contract valued at practically $275 million, Harden would line himself as much as make over $60 million in wage a 12 months by the contract’s finish.

As a result of the Nets have Harden’s Hen Rights, he might additionally choose out of the ultimate 12 months of his contract and re-sign with the franchise for a max contract price $270 million over 5 years.

How a lot cash can Harden earn with one other crew?

If Harden opts out of the ultimate 12 months of his deal to signal with one other crew outright, he might signal a four-year max deal price $200.1 million.

MORE: Why a James Harden for Ben Simmons commerce may save the Nets season

Alternatively, a crew might orchestrate a sign-and-trade that ensures the next wage for him to hitch his most well-liked vacation spot, solely that crew would want to have the monetary flexibility to match salaries and take up Harden’s contract.

Which groups have sufficient cap house to signal James Harden as a free agent?

The brief reply is none, however in actuality, it is a little more complicated.

Because it stands, there shall be 4 groups that can function underneath the cap primarily based on early projections. In accordance with Spotrac contributor Keith Smith, the Pistons, Magic, Spurs and Path Blazers can every create over $20 million of house.

  • Pistons – $31.4 million
  • Magic – $28.1 million
  • Spurs – $22.5 million

The Path Blazers scenario requires extra rationalization, as recently-acquired Eric Bledsoe and Josh Hart are on partially-guaranteed contracts for the 2022-23 season.

Per Smith, the Blazers can create between $20 million and $32 million in cap house in the event that they had been to waive Bledsoe and Hart and do not obtain the Pelicans’ first-round decide.

Every crew would want to make extra salary-saving strikes to unlock a Harden-sized max-contract slot.

How can the 76ers purchase James Harden within the offseason?

Given Philadelphia’s wage obligations, it must be by way of commerce.

With crew president Daryl Morey seeking to pair Harden with All-Star middle Joel Embiid, the framework of a two-team Harden-to-Philadelphia deal must embody one of many Sixers’ different highest earners – Tobias Harris or Ben Simmons.

  2021-22 2022-23 2023-24 2024-25 2025-26
Ben Simmons $33,003,936 $35,448,672 $37,893,408 $40,338,144
Tobias Harris $35,995,960 $37,633,050 $39,270,150

Harris and Simmons will every earn over $35 million subsequent season however the distinction between their contract determine and that of Harden would imply that the Sixers would want to incorporate one other participant to deliver the outgoing wage inside 20 p.c of Harden’s $47.4 million wage for the 2022-23 season.

The Nets are mentioned to have curiosity in Sixers sharpshooter Seth Curry ($8.5 million), whereas younger skills Tyrese Maxey ($2.7 million) and Matisse Thybulle ($4.4 million) are seen by many as untouchable.


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