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NBA News And Notes

With the NBA Draft in the rearview mirror, teams are now focusing on the rest of the offseason as they look to improve their clubs. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the biggest stories from around the National Basketball League this week.

Harden Exercises Option, But Will He Stay?


First reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic, Philadelphia 76ers’ forward James Harden exercised his player option for next year, earning him an upcoming paycheck of just under $36 million. Despite him exercising the option, though, it does not appear he intends to stay.

Also according to Charania, Harden and the 76ers are working together to find a trade partner for the 33-year-old. Last season, in 58 games, Harden averaged 21 points, 10.7 assists, and 6.1 rebounds per game.

Unfortunately, it was not enough for the 76ers to make the finals and will now look to retool without Harden moving forward. Assuming they do deal Harden, they are looking to stay competitive so it will mean getting value back in a deal. Early on, teams like the Knicks and Clippers are expected to have interest.

For Philadelphia, they currently have the fourth-best odds of winning the Eastern Conference at +650, and they are +1700 (tied for seventh-best odds) to win the NBA Finals.

Bulls Will Retrain Two Of Their Big Men


The last few days have seen a couple of big men return to the Chicago Bulls as Nikola Vucevic signed an extension and Andre Drummond opted into his option.

For Vucevic, the 32-year-old big man from Switzerland signed a three-year deal worth $60 million. He has played with the Bulls for the last two seasons after being acquired from the Orlando Magic in a deal back in 2021.

This last season, Vucevic played in 82 games and averaged 17.6 points, 11 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game, while shooting 52% from the field. While he may not be a true rim protector, he does give Chicago a solid presence on offense.

Chicago will also see reserve center Andre Drummond return as he exercised his player option and will now make $3.36 million next season. For Drummond, who will turn 30 in August, he averaged 6 points and 6.6 rebounds across 67 games for Chicago last season.

The Bulls are currently longshots to win the Eastern Conference at just +6500.

Barnes Re-Ups For three Years


On Thursday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that the Sacramento Kings and forward Harrison Barnes had agreed to a new deal. It is reported to be a three-year deal for Barnes at $54 million.

For Barnes, the 31-year-old played in 82 games last season, averaging 15 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game. He shot 47.3% from the field last season.

Having played for the Kings for the last several seasons, Barnes has turned into a solid, if not spectacular, presence for the Kings.

Despite his solid play, there is still not a ton of optimism for the Kings in a loaded Western Conference next season. They have just the ninth-best odds of winning the Western Conference (+2400), and they are +4500 to win the whole thing next year.

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