Sixers’ Harrell reportedly turned down player’s option

Montrezl Harrell has reportedly declined his player option for the 2023-24 season.

Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes reported that Harrell chose not to exercise his option and will become an unrestricted free agent. The veteran center signed a two-year minimum wage contract with the Sixers last September; in year 2, he would have earned around $2.8 million. Harrell’s deadline to decide his option was Wednesday.

The 2019-20 Sixth Man of the Year was a regular at the backup center alongside former Rockets teammate James Harden until early February. Paul Reed eventually supplanted him. Harrell’s only playoff appearance outside of garbage time was a five-minute stint in the Sixers’ first-round, Game 4 win over the Nets with Joel Embiid sidelined with a right knee injury. Reed, meanwhile, has been exceptional in the Sixers’ two playoff wins without Embiid.

Early in the season, Reed enjoyed learning and competing against the high-energy Harrell.

“It’s fun,” he said in October. “We’re two guys who are tough and brave, so it’s really fun. It’s like playing against myself, for real. Hard to keep, but it’s fun.

Harrell aimed to remain professional and grateful throughout the season.

“Just being out there playing this game and still being able to call it my job is a blessing,” he said Jan. 4 after a 19-point, four-block performance at the Sixers’ overtime win over the Pacers. “I don’t take any day for granted. There are a lot of ups, a lot of downs throughout the season, but I just try to stay balanced, try to do my job and just be a pro. I’ve been around a lot of great veterans in this league for a while and they’ve taught me how to be a pro whether I play or not.

Danuel House Jr. has decided to take his option of approximately $4.3 million for next season. Harden is expected to decline his $35.6 million option. The Sixers would like Harden to return, although it is not yet certain whether he will indeed return and what his next contract will look like.

As for Reed, he is set to hit restricted free agency and has a qualifying offer of $2.3 million.

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