Joel Embiid OKs five-year, $148M deal with Sixers

Mitchell Leff  Getty Images

Only at this crossroads the Sixers are gambling big on their tantalizing and brittle center, signing Embiid to a five-year contract extension, the team announced on Tuesday. It's where the Philadelphia 76ers now find themselves with center Joel Embiid. He just affects the game in so many different ways. "We are going to see what comes with it". Even in this age of disappearing centers, Embiid can be for Philly what Tim Duncan was for San Antonio. Fultz and Simmons are rookies and are two-thirds of the big three that the Sixers will display so everything should run through Embiid like previous year. When he didn't, they were a low lottery team. Alongside Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz, Embiid is now the face of a franchise that has shown unbelievable patience. When he was on the floor, Philly was a legitimate playoff contender. If Embiid can stay healthy, this new deal looks great but if his health problems re-occur, the Sixers will be left in a hard situation.

That's the same point differential that the Cavaliers posted, and a better one than the Celtics. He plays the game with a passion not displayed by most others of his caliber and " ... does things on the court that remind me of somebody who is able to hear music and just play the song", said Sixers head coach Brett Brown during a media session on October 9. Do it now and protect yourself as much as possible.

For Embiid, the deal is a remarkable commitment to his huge talent given that he's only been healthy enough to play 31 regular-season games since the 76ers selected him with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.

As we await more details about the specific language in Embiid's contract, one thing is for sure. Former No. 1 draft pick Greg Oden retired last October at the age of 28. And Embiid, for all of his precocious talent and wonderful gifts, has been more injured than most.

In those 31 games, though, Embiid showed he can be a transformational talent and cornerstone for a franchise that hasn't made the playoffs since the 2011-12 season and has had the No. 1 overall pick in the past two National Basketball Association drafts. Embiid is the foundation upon which the Sixers will build their cathedral.

The building process saw the 76ers go 28-54 last season after winning fewer than 20 games each of the previous three seasons. They would have controlled his rights in restricted free agency next summer, and provided he had the season they hope he will, they would have been happy to hand him or match the same deal next offseason. But even then, Embiid would still get roughly half this contract.

While comparing him to Tim Duncan, Brown said Embiid is the kind of player who can turn the fortunes of a franchise. That deal has a trade kicker, a player option, and an upfront payment schedule.

Marketing a player like Embiid is quite easy.

According to Woj, the deal does include a salary protection for the Sixers if Embiid is unable to play due to injury.

If he can stay healthy and effective, it will be well worth it for both parties.

Injuries have plagued the 23-year-old since being drafted No3 overall in the 2014 NBA Draft. Yes, these contracts have far-reaching ramifications for team building and roster construction, but it's a unusual part of this job that requires us to give our unqualified opinion about somebody else's money.

Robert Covington "Hey, get that bag".

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