Worried about Joel Embiid’s health? The Sixers may have just given fans reason to sign in relief.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski announced Monday that the team agreed to pay the center some big bucks — $148 million to be exact — over five season in a max rookie contract extension.
The deal signifies that the team has no long-term doubts about the health of the second-year player, who sat out two entire seasons after getting mutiple foot surgeries, and was pulled from the active roster last year before getting knee surgery.
In between were some of the most exciting 31 games since the Allen Iverson era, with Embiid putting up not just Rookie of the Year-worthy numbers, but NBA All-Star caliber stats as well.
He has been slow to get up to full speed this offseason, but it is reported that he is starting to play some ever-elusive five-on-five in practice with his Sixers’ teammates. That paired with the timing of the deal, just a few week before the NBA season kicks off in Washington on October 18, is a reassuring sign for anyone concerned.
Philly is taking a huge bet on the health of Embiid, but if he is able to play even half of the regular season games in 2017-18, paired with a healthy supporting cast, the Sixers could be a playoff team sooner than many people think.
Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz will be a tandem of No. 1 overall point guards making their NBA debut next week, with Dario Saric and Jahlil Okafor likely coming off the bench and providing a punch. Three-and-D specialist Robert Covington and deep-shooting specialist J.J. Redick will likely round out a healthy starting five for Philly.
Embiid’s contract extension ends curioisity over whether Philadelphia was willing to roll the dice on the Cameroonian as he becomes a restricted free agent after this season.