Joel Embiid inks massive extension with 76ers; Good move or bad move by Philly?


None by Joel Embiid

By now, you surely all have heard about the massive contract signed by former Kansas center Joel Embiid, who on Monday inked a five-year, $148 million contract to stay with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Not bad for a guy who has played in just 31 NBA games since leaving Kansas as the No. 3 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. Granted, those 31 games produced some pretty impressive results — 20 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists per game — and nearly led to Embiid being named the rookie of the year last season despite the small sample size.

And those numbers, while solid, don’t even tell half of the story as the former KU standout whose college career ended early because of injury has rejuvenated an entire franchise and city and become a sort of cult hero across the country for his skills, confidence and never-ending social media presence that has provided some of the best NBA entertainment of the past three seasons.

But forget for a second about his game or the future. The big question now that Embiid has signed the deal is simple: Was he worth it?

The NBA world seems to be mixed in its response and who could blame anyone for questioning whether that kind of max deal, which, according to reports, could grow to as much as $178 million by the end of it, is the right move for an oft-injured player such as Embiid.

There’s no question that when he’s healthy and on the floor, Embiid is a game changer, the kind of player you can build a team around and ride to enormous heights.

But staying healthy has been a struggle and, with that frame and the way he uses such explosive movements to play the game, it’s certainly fair to question whether he will remain healthy and become the player the Sixers need him to and hope he will become.

With Embiid and the Sixers slated to be in Kansas City, Mo., for an exhibition game on Friday night, this topic certainly figures to be hot around this area for at least the next few days.

And while the Sixers did include some language in the contract that offers them some measure of protection against injury, it’s still a massive commitment for a player who, as of today, has to be considered at least somewhat of a question mark.

To that end, here’s my favorite recap of the Embiid situation, from Paul Flannery at SB Nation, who spells out the five appropriate responses to Embiid’s contract extension.

It seems as if Flannery covered all of the emotions and opinions that many had after hearing the news about the extension, but, knowing Embiid, it’s certainly possible that his career path will take us on an unexpected journey that nobody has talked about thus far. You know, like him playing point guard or becoming Philly’s player-coach.

Anything is possible with The Process.

Let's just hope that most of what we see during the next five years is Embiid on the court wowing the world with his skills and ability and earning every dime of that lucrative contract.


Phil Leister 11 months, 2 weeks ago

That's got to be the largest contract ever signed by a Jayhawk, right?

It's definitely a risky move on the part of Philly. But if they didn't do it, someone else would have. JoJo is THAT special of a player that the potential is absolutely worth it.

Pius Waldman 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Honestly salaries are so far out of wack hard to say good or bad. But with his past injuries unless they have some type of insurance could be a bad one.

Tim Orel 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Does insurance count when teams are being forced to stay under the (admittedly nebulous) salary cap? I know that Philly probably has the contract fully insured should he get injured, but would the NBA allow Philly all that room back under the salary cap or does an injured player count against the cap?

Brad Farha 11 months, 1 week ago

And people slammed Embiid for leaving school after one year. Selfishly I wished he had remained here, but it looks like it worked out well for him.

Henry Joseph Hofmeister 11 months, 1 week ago

Like you mentioned in the article, he is the face of philly now. He's a recruiting tool, the team's charisma. Heck, the city's charisma. You can put a price on a player's game but his game off the court probably sells more shoes.

Andrew Whitehead 11 months, 1 week ago

Congrats, Joel. Really hope he stays healthy - it will be fascinating to see just how high his ceiling is! Couldn't wish for a better representative for KU in the NBA.

Brian Mellor 11 months, 1 week ago

One of the ESPN talking heads said it pretty well: if you're going to spend years and years telling everyone to trust the process, well . . . this is the process.

Won't be able to evaluate it until the period is up to see if he was healthy for all of it. As long as he stays healthy, it should wind up being worth it.

Barry Weiss 11 months, 1 week ago

how much of this is guaranteed? If there are clauses that withhold salary based on ability to play, its probably a good deal for both parties.

Tracey Graham 11 months, 1 week ago

Joel make his preseason debut last night. His line? 22 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 blocked shot in 15 minutes of action.

That line explains why the 76ers gave him that extension. And IF he stays healthy, in a few years people will be calling that contract a bargain.

I know it's a big risk, given his injury history. But it is clear that he will be a multiple All-Star is he can stay on the floor. He's also a big draw in terms of attendance. Even though he's barely played, he's the 76ers' most popular player by a mile. In fact, he's probably the most popular player on the team since the Iverson days.

The contract reportedly has clauses in it regarding injury, so the 76ers have at least some protection. But the bottom line is, they couldn't risk losing him when he becomes a FA.

PS - Congrats to Andrew Wiggins on signing HIS contract extension

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