Philadelphia 76ers and Joel Embiid agreed to a 5 year extension worth 146.5 million dollars. Joel Embiid secured the deal after only playing 31 games this season. From the look of him in those games he is definitely going to be a force in the league and probably the best center in the game one day but did he 76ers jump the gun? I mean come one he only played 31 games but let’s look at the stats for him over that span of time. Joel Embiid averaged 20 points and 8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks. To make it even better he did all this while only playing 25 minutes a game. He made a huge impact for the 76ers on both sides of the ball and led them to a 10-5 record in the month of January plus they were 7-2 when Embiid did play. He brought the 76ers to national attention to where they started broadcasting their games on ESPN. Even though he did all this he season was still cut short due to injury. But was that really enough to hand the man a max deal like that without even playing a full season or at least majority of it. Was this good timing or too soon?
Don’t get me wrong some of my favorite players in the NBA are big men but they could have waited a little longer to toss him that kind of money. I am not going to say he doesn’t deserve it but I think they should have at least let him play more and see what his full potential is playing 36 mins. They should have at least waited until all-star break to make sure he can be healthy. The 76ers are going to be a force in the next couple of years, maybe sooner rather than later but even though they showed the fans why they should trust the process they still have to make sure Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz show up as well.
It was a good investment I will give them that but they should have made sure he could stay healthy. He did miss his first 2 seasons due to injury. But even though they did give him that contract it doesn’t go into effect until next season and it comes with some stipulations. The 76ers have put injuries in his contract that could cause him to be waived and they keep their finances. Basically they have laid out specific injuries including some from his past. During the last 4 years of his contract which ends 2022-2023 if Joel suffers and injury that keeps him sidelined for 25 games or more and if he plays less than 1,650 minutes they have the option of releasing him for cost saving. Maybe they are not as naïve as we may think they are. Even though Joel would probably have to have a career ending injury for them to release him they are still trying to cover them just in case and even though sometimes injury is not something you can control it could be like an incentive for Embiid to stay healthy to keep his big pay day.
Also if he plays a minimum of 1,650 mins in 3 consecutive years or 3 out of 4 years including this upcoming season it would eliminate the possibility of reduction in his contract. Next season Joel will earn 25.2 million but has the chance to reach the super max threshold. In order for that to happen he will have to either earn first team All NBA honors or voted Most Valuable player in this upcoming season, if he accomplishes either or he could be paid 30% of the salary cap and up to 176 million. Even though this contract was handed out too soon the 76ers are playing it smart and providing incentives.
Embiid is expected to be ready for opening game on Oct 18. But he might face some minute restrictions still because of his knee rehabbing. This will also be Ben Simmons debut along with Markelle Fultz. 76ers have a bright future and Joel is the center piece. Either way it goes he is well deserving of the contract but they could have waited a little longer. I’m looking forward to seeing what the 76ers can do with all 3 of their key players on the court together.