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NBA Rumors: 'Whispers' 76ers' James Harden Only Wants Short-Term Contracts

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVDecember 28, 2022

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 21: James Harden #1 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on during the game against the Detroit Pistons on December 21, 2022 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden reportedly prefers to continue signing short-term contracts in free agency after doing so this past offseason.

According to ESPN's Zach Lowe on the Lowe Post Show (h/t RealGM), there are "whispers" within the NBA that Harden wants to keep up the trend of signing "one-plus-one kind of deals."

Harden was traded from the Brooklyn Nets to the Sixers last season before opting out of his contract. He then signed a two-year, $68.64 million deal to remain in Philly, although he can opt out again after this season.

The trade to and subsequent re-signing with Philadelphia reunited Harden with president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, who was the Houston Rockets' general manager from 2007 to 2020.

Morey was responsible for acquiring Harden from the Oklahoma City Thunder, and he put Harden in position to earn nine All-Star selections, three scoring titles and one NBA MVP Award in his nine seasons with the Rockets.

Harden joining forces with Morey, as well as teammate Joel Embiid in Philly figured to be a match made in heaven, although injuries have limited Harden to 19 games and the Sixers are a somewhat disappointing 20-13 this season after getting bounced in the second round of the playoffs last season.

Still, Harden has been productive when healthy, averaging 22.0 points, 11.2 assists and 6.5 rebounds per contest.

While a core of Harden, Embiid, Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris has a chance to contend, Harden's future with the 76ers is up in the air, given his ability to opt out at the conclusion of the 2022-23 season.

There has already been talk of Harden potentially returning to Houston to join the young, developing core of Jalen Green, Jabari Smith, Kevin Porter Jr. and Alperen Sengun, as ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Harden is "seriously considering" rejoining the Rockets if he opts out.

Regardless of where he signs, maintaining flexibility is a logical move for Harden and many top NBA players, as it could allow him to maximize his value and play in the right situations on a year-to-year basis.