Superstar big man and popular Philly icon Joel Embiid signed a five-year, $148 million extension on Monday, but the details of the deal were not made public at the time of the signing. Many speculated that the deal would involve various options, clauses, and incentives, and they were right on the money (unintended pun I now fully intend upon realization).
The specifics of the deal are a bit tricky so I’ll try to dissect it to its simplest form. Firstly, the $148 million isn’t the absolute max Embiid can earn, and if he remains healthy and snags some pretty impressive accolades he could collect up to $176 million. For Embiid to make less than $148 million; however, he must miss 25 games or play less than 1,650 minutes due to contractually agreed upon injuries. The aforementioned injuries are related to those Embiid has suffered before- back and foot- so if he misses time due to a concussion or chest injury the 76ers do not get the financial savings if they waive him.
This is a bit shocking to me because I thought the front office would want insurance for more than just two types of injuries. I know Embiid’s foot and back are the two areas most likely to sideline him for an extended period of time, but when a player misses nearly three years due to injuries it’d be wise to protect yourself from any and all injuries.
The fact there is such a relatively small financial protection against injuries highlights that Bryan Colangelo and Co. truly believes that the big man’s battle with major injuries is behind him. If Embiid has truly moved on then he is in store for an absolutely sensational season, which leads to the next part of the contract.
As I stated earlier, Embiid can earn up to $176 million with incentives. If Embiid is selected to the All-NBA First Team or named the NBA MVP for the 2017-18 season he will then be eligible for the aforementioned super max. While I don’t see the Sixers winning enough games for Embiid to take home MVP honors, I think the All-NBA First Team is well within reach for the two-way superstar.
Overall I think that this is a very solid deal, and one that could be a steal down the line. I know some people are a bit confused at the timing of the deal- Embiid only suiting up for 31 games thus far- but sometimes you have to pay players based on future production. A great recent example of this is when the Warriors signed Steph Curry to a four-year extension back in 2012. Curry missed 40 of 66 games in a lockout shortened season the year before his extension due to injuring his twice-surgically repaired ankle. The Warriors were confident in his talent and his ability to recover from ankle issues, and three NBA Finals trips and two championships later I’m sure they are glad they did. Embiid carries that same potential and simply had to paid as a result. It may seem a bit premature and mind-boggling at the moment but there has never been a better time to Trust the Process.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports