Stakes Are High For The Sixers’ James Harden Investment

    • James Harden will make his debut with the 76ers on Friday night.
    • Philly's franchise finances are tied with him for the foreseeable future — especially when he's due for a historic extension.

James Harden’s 76ers jersey is already topping sales at Fanatics — and on Friday, the most popular guy in Philadelphia will finally suit up for his new team against Minnesota. 

Now, Philly’s success hinges on whether an embattled former MVP can coexist with one of this season’s top candidates for the trophy, Joel Embiid.

President Daryl Morey’s deadline decision also means the franchise’s finances are tied up with Harden for the foreseeable future — especially if he signs a historic extension.

  • Philly’s trio of Embiid, Harden, and Tobias Harris account for $111.8 million (75.5%) of the Sixers’ $148 million payroll.
  • In June, Harden will opt into the final year of his deal worth $47.3 million in 2022-23.
  • Two months later, Harden will likely sign a four-year, $223 million contract ($55.8M AAV).
  • Turning 37 in 2026, he’d be the first in NBA history to make $60 million annually. 

Harden is averaging his fewest points since 2011-12 (22.5), leading the NBA in turnovers per game (4.8), and is shooting a career-worst 33.2% from three and second-worst 41.4% from the field. 

And Doc Rivers could have his hands full if Harden slows down the pace of the Sixers offense. Plus, Harden has clashed with star partners in the past — Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, and most recently Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Philly’s infamous Process will only have been worth it if the Sixers win a title. They’re currently the 3-seed in the East and the fourth-favorite (+700*) for the Larry O’Brien Trophy.