Unless a trade that looks awfully unlikely at the moment, Joel Embiid will be in Philadelphia for a lot longer.
Embiid has agreed to a four-year, fully guaranteed super-max extension for $196 million.
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reports the contract includes a player option in the final year and is based on a projected $124.95 million salary cap for the 2023-24 season, which is when the extension will begin.
Embiid, 27, is coming off of the best season of his career. He became eligible for a super-max deal by being named to the All-NBA Second Team and finished runner-up to Nikola Jokic in MVP voting, averaging 28.5 points on a 63.6 true shooting percentage and 10.6 rebounds.
Injuries have followed Embiid throughout his career. Most recently, he played through a small right lateral meniscus tear during the postseason.
“It’s a torn meniscus,” he said after the Sixers’ game seven loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the second round. “It is what it is. I guess there’s a good and a bad in the loss. Now I can take care of my body. That’s something that I thought hard about, playing on it, but ultimately I decided to do it. It was my choice and I’ve got to live with the results. At the end of the day, when it comes to my future, I’ll be fine.”
Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey declined to answer the question of whether Embiid required meniscus surgery on the night of the NBA draft, though he said the four-time All-Star “looks great” and the Sixers were “not concerned about him medically at all.”
While there’s a big risk in a long-term, a profitable, fully guaranteed contract for a seven-foot center, such a commitment was necessary to ensure a player who’s already among the best in Sixers history stayed in the city.
Embiid has spoken frequently about his love for Sixers fans and desire to be with the franchise for his entire career.
“Fans are always there for me when I play, and I always mention that,” he said after scoring a career-high 50 points in February. “Playing in Philly, I have a lot of pride, and I play for the fans and I play for the city. All my goals when it comes to basketball are related to the city of Philadelphia.”