The Philadelphia 76ers have agreed to a five-year, $148 million max rookie contract extension for fourth-year center Joel Embiid, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. If Embiid meets the super max criteria, he could earn an as much as $178 million on the contract, league sources said. That paired with the timing of the deal, just a few week before the National Basketball Association season kicks off in Washington on October 18, is a reassuring sign for anyone concerned.
Embiid will continue to have restrictions on his playing time coming into the 2017-18 season, which is set to begin for the 76ers on October 18 against the Washington Wizards.
Those 31 games almost earned Embiid the NBA Rookie of the Year Award last season, as he poured in 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game in just over 25 minutes.
Despite his head-turning talent, the primary storyline in Embiid's early career has been his injuries.
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Playing just 31 games in his National Basketball Association career, this deal is a huge risk for Philadelphia. The impact he singlehandedly had on the Sixers past year was astounding, and proves his worth.
It's a lot of money to pay for the oft-injured Embiid, but Philadelphia seems committed to him. The criteria includes winning the Defensive Player of the Year or MVP, as well as making All-NBA teams.
There will be a fair amount of questions about the timing of the deal, and they're warranted.
The back injury he suffered during his only season at college has not been an issue since.
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The Sixers are betting it all one of the more talented, yet more injury-prone players in the league. He is in the middle of recovering from a meniscus tear that required surgery in February, and was recently cleared to participate in full court five-on-five practice. The most recent reports are that he practiced fully, but is still being held out of games for now. If Embiid can manage to play somewhere in the ballpark of 55-60 games a year during the length of the contract, it should undoubtedly be deemed a success.
What were the Sixers' options during extension negotiations, and how might Embiid's incentive-based and injury clauses work in his new contract?
In the end, Colangelo and Embiid's agent, Leon Rose, looked like they were able to meet in the middle on this one. ESPN's Zach Lowe tweeted that extension could be the "most complex" in National Basketball Association history.
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