A Inside Look at Joel Embiid’s Supermax Extension

NBA: APR 09 76ers at Pelicans
NEW ORLEANS, LA – APR 09: New Orleans Pelicans center Willy Hernangomez (9) fouls Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) during a NBA game between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Philadelphia 76ers at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, LA on Apr 09, 2021. (Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire)

Joel Embiid and the Sixers have agreed to a four-year, $196 million supermax extension that will keep him with the team through the 2026-2027 NBA season.

With Embiid set to make $65 million over the next two years of his contract, he now has a contract totaling $261 million. Embiid also represented himself through negotiations this summer after parting ways with CAA Sports Agency earlier this summer. This summer, the All-Star center became eligible for the supermax extension after being the runner-up for MVP and being named to the All-NBA second team

A Season to Remember

Joel Embiid had an MVP caliber year last season, averaging 28.5 ppg, 10.6 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.4 BPG, and led the 76ers to the best record in the Eastern Conference. He may have been named MVP if he hadn’t missed 21 games due to injury. Embiid had his best year shooting the ball on 51% shooting and 38% from three-point land. He was second in the NBA in free-throw attempts and player efficiency rating.

Embiid made the leap that everyone wanted him to make. He started taking his conditioning seriously, and it allowed him to play the second most minutes he has played in his career. Embiid tried to will his team to and through the NBA playoffs and even played through a torn meniscus. Embiid’s play helped this team become a true contender last season.

Joining Elite Company

Joel Embiid is now a part of an elite group of players who have signed a supermax extension, officially known as the Designated Veteran Players Extension. NBA players that have signed the supermax extension include John Wall, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, James Harden, Damian Lillard, Giannis Antetokounmpo. In order to be eligible for this type of contract, the player must have 7-9 years of service and meet one of the performance criteria below:

  • Named to an All-NBA Team in most recent season or two of the last three seasons
  • Named NBA Defensive Player of the year in the most recent season or two of the last three seasons
  • Named NBA MVP in any of the last three seasons

Signing the supermax will allow a player’s contract to take up to 35 percent of the salary cap. Most recently, Luka Doncic and Trae Young signed rookie supermax extensions which are eligible for first-round picks with one year left on their deal, and the above criteria met or expected to be met. With all the players who have signed this type of extension, Embiid is in good company. The players mentioned are some of the best players in the NBA. Embiid is one of the best players in the league, and he should be paid like one.

The Sixers’ Financial Future

With Joel Embiid signing his contract extension, many may wonder if this handicaps the Sixers’ financial future. Embiid’s contract breakdown per year:

2023-24- $43.73M

2024-25- $47.23M

2025-26- $50.72M

2026-27- 54.22M(Player Option)

The Sixers’ financial future may look murky now but should clear up by the time the first year of his extension kicks in. A Ben Simmons trade looks to be on the horizon and with him goes his salary which averages $35 million over the next four seasons. Tobias Harris’ max deal only has three years remaining at an average of $36 million a year, and with Daryl Morey at the helm, he could find a way to move off the contract even earlier while Harris’ value is high.

Although Embiid’s contract is fully guaranteed, they will have some flexibility in the future, even if they happen to trade for Damian Lillard. One would have to assume with the growth of the game and new TV deal after the 2024-25 season, the salary cap will likely increase, creating more flexibility for teams. 

Trusting the Process

Joel has been through a lot since being drafted in the NBA. He missed his first two years due to foot injuries. He missed more than half of his third year due to load management and knee injuries. He has had countless injuries but, in most cases, pushed through and played if he could.

Joel Embiid started playing basketball in 2011 and to be signing a supermax deal ten years later is amazing. With newfound determination, he is ready to lead this team and city to an NBA Championship. He trusted the process, and that helped him earn the extension he signed on Tuesday.