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Where is the 66ers salary cap ahead of James Harden contract talks?

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When James Harden waived his $47.4 million player option for the 2022–23 season on Wednesday, he gave the 66ers the path to both a $10.5 million mid-range non-taxpayer exemption and a 4.1 million dollars paid twice a year. They wasted no time using both once free agency officially began at 6:00 pm ET Thursday.

The Sixers have agreed to a fully guaranteed three-year, $33.2 million contract with forward PJ Tucker. Shams Charania of The Athletic and signed a two-year, $8.5 million contract with Danuel House Jr., according to ESPN. Adrian Voinarovsky. A source confirmed that both contracts were signed with the Liberty Ballers. According to PhillyVoice’s Kyle Neubeck, the second year of House’s contract is up to the player.

However, the Sixers didn’t end there. They also signed reigning G-League MVP Trevelyn Queen to a two-year, $3.3 million contract. Chris Haynes from Yahoo Sports. A source told Liberty Ballers that the contract contains a partial guarantee in 2022-2023 that Derek Bodner The Daily Six newsletter was reportedly worth $300,000.

Harden has yet to formally agree to the terms of his next contract, although he and his team are due to meet over the weekend for talks. Voinarovsky. Considering the Sixers have already spent their non-taxpayer MLE and the two-year exemption, they’re probably referring to Harden’s estimated salary next season.

With 15 players currently under contract (not counting Harden), the Sixers’ salary is over $120.5 million. That’s about $36.4 million short of the $150.7 million luxury tax threshold, which is a line that teams can’t cross at any point during the league year when they use MLE for non-taxpayers, a two-year exemption, or acquire player through sign and trade.

If the Sixers have no other options during the offseason, Harden will be able to earn no more than $36.4 million next season. That’s $11 million less than the player option he turned down and $10.1 million less than the maximum salary he’s allowed to receive as a free agent. From there, the Sixers can give him an 8 percent annual increase, but the maximum he could earn on a three-year deal is $118 million, nearly $33 million short of his maximum.

The signing of Tucker and House cannot become official until the July moratorium lifts at noon ET on July 6. Meanwhile, the 66ers may try to create more wiggle room under the apron to give Harden more money next season.

Once the 66ers have dealt with Harden, they will have a 16-player contract. Lineups can expand to 20 players during the off-season (including two-way players), but the 66ers will have to waive at least one of their non-two-way players prior to the start of the regular season.

Even if the Sixers waive Quinn, his $300,000 guarantee will remain on their books, though they will free up $1.3 million in wiggle room under the apron. Third-year quarterback Isaiah Joe could also be in trouble, especially with the addition of House and DeAnthony Melton, as his $1.8 million salary isn’t fully guaranteed before the premiere.

The 66ers may also consider a consolidation in the coming days to clear a spot in the roster and potentially free up more apron space. If they combine the salaries of Furkan Korkmaz ($5 million) and Matisse Tibul ($4.4 million), they could find someone in the $6-8 million range to achieve both goals at the same time.

If they can’t find anyone for the Korkmaz-Taibull package, the Sixers may consider trading Tobias Harris instead as a way to take a pay cut.

The most likely option in terms of contract would be to send Harris to the Charlotte Hornets instead of Gordon Hayward, who has two years left and roughly $61.6 million on his contract. Next year, he will earn about $7.5 million less than Harris, although both Harris and Hayward have trade terms in their contracts.

Harris is owed 5 percent of the total remaining contract value, or $5 million if traded, whichever is less, while Hayward has a 15 percent trade bonus. Harris’ trade kicker will add an estimated $1.9 million to his cap in each of the next two seasons, while Hayward’s trade kicker will add $4.6 million. Harris and Hayward could have ditched their trade kickers — the trading math works anyway — but the Sixers would only have saved about $3 million if Hayward hadn’t ditched his.

The Sixers could also have a trade where Harris gets the same salary as the other team. One such possibility could be sending Harris, Korkmaz and/or Tybull to the Pacers instead of free agent forward T.J. Warren and defenseman Buddy Heald, who has two years and $40.5 million left on his current contract. However, the signing and trade would have to be for at least three years, including one fully guaranteed season, so Warren would have to settle for that contract structure.

Until Harden agrees to the terms and formally signs a new contract, the Sixers will have some flexibility to boost his earnings next year. But if he accepts a salary no higher than $36.4 million, they can make each of the announced off-season signings and re-sign him while staying below the apron.

Unless otherwise noted, all statistics through NBA.com, PBPStats, Glass cleaning or Basketball Handbook. All salary information Spotrak or RealGM.


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