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Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers agreed to a new five-year, $146.5 million maximum contract extension on Tuesday.
The deal raised eyebrows around the NBA due to Embiid’s injury history. The uber-talented big man missed his first two seasons with injuries and played just 31 games last season before going down yet again.
But while there are still risks to the deal, Philadelphia took some precautions that suggest it is not as risky as first perceived.
According to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Sixers have specific financial protections built into the contract that would absolve the team from some of the financial burden should Embiid miss significant time related to one of the center’s previous injuries.
If Embiid were to miss more than 25 games or play less than 1,650 minutes over the course of a season with an injury related to his back or his foot, the Sixers would have the opportunity to waive Embiid and they would owe him less money. But should Embiid suffer a different type of serious injury, Philadelphia would still be on the hook for the deal through 2023. Wojnarowski breaks it down in a bit more detail:
“For example, if Embiid hypothetically suffered a serious knee or wrist injury – something outside the contractual language surrounding the feet and back – the 76ers would have no avenue to waive Embiid to reclaim any portion of his salary. And given Embiid’s rare talent, there’s a belief that he’d have to suffer a career-ending injury to inspire the 76ers to release him.”
“If Embiid met that narrow criteria and the Sixers decided to waive him after the 2018-19 season, he would receive $84.2 million of his full contract; after the 2019-20 season, $98.2 million; after the 2020-21 season, $113.3 million; and after the 2021-22 season, $129.4 million.”
It’s a deal that the Sixers essentially had to make, and protects the team enough against injuries that could potentially derail “The Process.”
Despite only playing 31 games in the NBA, Embiid has already shown his potential to be a force in the NBA, averaging 20.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game in his time on the court. With the debuts of Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons this season, as well as the newly acquired J.J. Redick coming to Philadelphia, the Sixers are looking to win now. And with Embiid’s new deal in place, the team is in a good position to do so should the young center stay healthy.