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Report: James Harden looking to explore opportunities outside Brooklyn in free agency

The Nets star is going to take advantage of free agency.

Brooklyn Nets v Minnesota Timberwolves
James Harden of the Brooklyn Nets shoots a free throw during the game during the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on January 23, 2022 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets might see one of their stars depart this summer. According to a report from Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, James Harden is willing to explore other options as a free agent this summer and could leave the franchise. There’s always the possibility Harden does come back to the Nets, who can offer him the biggest contract as the incumbent team.

As reported above, the lifestyle and Irving’s part-time status have not sat well with Harden. The shooting guard saw his production decline earlier in the season as a result of him not getting to the free-throw line more often with NBA rule changes. Harden did turn things around eventually and even had a red-hot stretch after a brief stint in the league’s health and safety protocols.

It’s hard to see a better situation for Harden than Brooklyn, assuming Kevin Durant and Irving remain with the team. The Nets are committed to contending, willing to spend money and draft assets to build the best team possible. Per DraftKings Sportsbook, Brooklyn is the favorite to win the 2021-22 title at +245.

If the Nets cannot get a commitment from Harden, they may look to trade him at this year’s deadline. There have been rumors about a potential Harden for Ben Simmons swap, with 76ers GM Daryl Morey clearly liking Harden as a franchise player. Harden and Joel Embiid would be a superstar tandem, and the shooting guard wouldn’t have to deal with the part-time players in Philadelphia.