Pass or Pursue: Top 10 NBA Free Agents in 2022

Bradley Beal, Deandre Ayton
Bradley Beal, Deandre Ayton / Will Newton/GettyImages
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San Antonio Spurs - NBA Free Agents
James Harden / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

2. James Harden (Player Option)

Speaking of bad culture fits, let's talk about a guy who has given up on two franchises in as many years, James Harden. I don't think it's unfair to say that's exactly what he did to the Houston Rockets and Brooklyn Nets.

After just over eight All-Star seasons in H-Town, Harden handled his exit from the team that made him what he is extremely poorly. Still, he got what he wanted when he found himself with two other superstars in Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant in Brooklyn last season.

Sam Amick of The Athletic put it better than I could in a column (subscription required) from February:

"Harden is an indisputable all-time great, but you can’t force your way out twice in the course of 13 months without taking a PR hit along the way, and this is a stain that won’t go away anytime soon — if ever.

James Harden is an assassin on the basketball court and one of the most offensively gifted players in the game, even if roughly one-third of his points come from the free throw line.

But again, there's more to the game than just on-court matters, and Harden exemplifies just about everything negative quality a player can have off of it.

Verdict: The hardest of passes