The Philadelphia 76ers almost certainly aren't trading James Harden, but the All-Star guard has a failsafe in case they do.
Michael Scotto of Hoopshype reported Harden's contract with the Sixers carries a 15 percent trade kicker.
Harden took a significant pay cut to re-sign on a two-year, $68.6 million contract in Philadelphia. The move allowed the Sixers to go out in free agency and land PJ Tucker and Danuel House, two players who previously played with Harden with the Houston Rockets.
While the kicker is noteworthy, there is almost zero chance of it ever coming into play. The Sixers pot-committed with Harden midway through last year, with president of basketball operations Daryl Morey reuniting with his Houston superstar.
Harden's act of good faith in taking a pay cut showed a commitment to winning a championship next season, and it likely comes with a bit of a wink-wink-nudge-nudge about his future with the franchise.
The contract comes with a player option for the 2023-24 season, one Harden will almost certainly decline, barring injury or a massive dip in performance. By next summer, the Sixers will be eligible to go over the hard cap and re-sign Harden to a long-term deal with a salary closer to what he could have received this offseason in free agency.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the NBA is currently investigating the Sixers for tampering. Harden's contract is at the center of concern around the league, with some executives wondering whether there is a "handshake" deal in place for next summer.
In any case, Harden's trade kicker at least protects him—and allows him to recoup some of his pay cut—in the case of an unforeseen falling out in Philadelphia.