Joel Embiid contract extension: 76ers give NBA MVP runner-up super-max deal through 2026-27, report says

“The Process” can now start a trust fund. Joel Embiid and Philadelphia 76ers have agreed

“The Process” can now start a trust fund. Joel Embiid and Philadelphia 76ers have agreed to terms on a four-year, $196 million super max contract extension, per ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. It’s the largest contract Philadelphia can offer Embiid at this time, and with two years remaining on his current deal, it now secures the 2020-21 NBA MVP runner-up on the Sixers’ roster until 2027.

The new deal brings Embiid’s earnings to $261 million over the next six seasons, all of which is fully guaranteed, per Shelburne. The final year of his deal does have a player option, by which time he’ll be 33 years old and could sign to another lucrative deal if he manages to stay healthy and keep up his MVP-caliber level of play. 

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The cause for celebration is obvious. The Cameroon native has been the face of the franchise through both a tumultuous rebuild and a rise into the NBA’s elite or near-elite ranks. He is coming off a spectacular season where he finally began to hit the 3-pointers he’d so love to hoist previously, making 37.7 percent from beyond the arc while also shooting career-highs on 2-pointers and free throws. He carried the Sixers to a No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference with his dominant play on both ends of the floor every game, and had it not been for him playing just 51 out of 72 games, he very well could’ve been named MVP instead of Nikola Jokic. 

That last part is the area for concern. The 7-foot, 280-pound center missed the first two entire seasons of his career with foot and back issues and has yet to play more than 64 games in a season. In the past two seasons combined he’s missed 41 games, and while he only missed one game in the postseason — which came in the first round against the Wizards — he still suffered a meniscus tear that he played with throughout the remainder of the playoffs. 

On the bright side, the injury didn’t slow Embiid’s production down, as he averaged 30.4 points, 12.7 rebounds, four assists, two blocks and a steal a game after the injury, but every new injury to his body is met with gritted teeth and squinting eyes given his history. 

But Embiid’s development made this decision easy for the 76ers. At his best, there is no one like him, a giant who can handle and shoot well enough to be respected, but has the post and paint moves to physically overwhelm opponents, while also being able to control the interior on defense. During the Sixers’ second-round loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the playoffs, Embiid was virtually unstoppable by every big man Atlanta threw at him. He dropped 40 points in Game 2 of that series, and almost reached that pinnacle a second time in Game 5 with 37 points. But the issue with Philadelphia is getting Embiid consistent enough help around him so that he doesn’t have to put up herculean numbers for a close win. 

For the past two seasons, trade talks surrounding Embiid’s Robin to his Batman — Ben Simmons — have only intensified, especially after the disappointing exit against the Hawks. While nothing has materialized at this moment on that front, that doesn’t mean something can’t happen before the season starts. The Sixers ensured that Embiid is in Philadelphia through majority of his prime, but what they do next, whether that’s trading Simmons or bringing in another star player through a different trade, will show if they’ll be able to keep Embiid happy in Philly. 

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