Towards the end of the NBA season, something fans and players look forward to are the seasonal awards announced during the playoffs.
One of these key awards is the prestigious All-NBA team awards which crown the best overall players in the NBA. This season, MVP runner-up Joel Embiid was named to the NBA’s second-team. While this is a tremendous honor for both him and the Sixers, this distinction also makes Joel Embiid eligible for the super-max contract extension. While there may be some detractors to this, here is why signing Embiid to the super-max extension is a no-brainer.
Beginning first with Joel’s contract as it currently stands; Embiid is linked to the Sixers through the 2022-2023 season. This means the super-max extension would kick-in for the 2023-2024 season and last until the 2026-2027 season. Embiid’s original deal following his rookie contract was a five-year $147 million contract, the extension would add four years to the end of the deal and an extra $191 million. While the extension would not make Embiid the highest paid player in the NBA, it would put him in the top five for the initial 2023-2024 season. This large cap hit, along with some other criticisms has led to some detractors becoming hesitant to offer the super-max extension.
The two main points of against the super-max extension for Embiid are the large cap hit as well as Embiid’s injury history. Among many things, incredible NBA teams of the past are able to carefully and effectively manipulate the salary cap. And while the Embiid extension would make that difficult, it would not make it impossible. Many teams throughout history have been successful despite large individual cap hits. Any team LeBron James has been on has manipulated the cap in their favor, as well as the Golden State Warriors teams of recent history. As for the injury aspect, it is true that Embiid has had injury problems in the past and may deal with nagging injuries for the remainder of his career. However, the Sixers organization, as well as the fans, would kick themselves if they let Embiid walk due to the fear of injury only for him to achieve incredible success elsewhere.
One final note to consider when it comes to large contracts in the NBA. No contract is untradeable. Many media outlets will critique large contracts in any sport let alone basketball. But these contracts, especially in the NBA, are rarely ever “untradeable.” Just think about recent NBA history. Al Horford’s contract was traded twice, Joe Johnson’s contract was traded twice, and Russel Westbrook and John Wall’s contracts were traded for each other. If Embiid truly cannot live up to the super-max money, it is not out of the realm of possibility for him to be traded in the future.
It is an absolute no-brainer for the Sixers to extend and MVP candidate, NBA All-Star, and face of the franchise for as long as possible.
Photo: via Yong Kim/Philadelphia Inquirer
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