Updated: Oct. 10, 12:18 p.m.
As good as the Sixers expect Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz to be, Joel Embiid is the keystone of the franchise.
Hence the reason Embiid nicknamed himself "The Process."
Now he's paid accordingly.
The Sixers and Embiid have agreed to a five-year, $148 million extension.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the news.
The Sixers and Embiid had until Oct. 16 to agree to an extension; otherwise, Embiid would have become a restricted free agent following the season. Had that occurred, other teams could have made offers, but the Sixers would have had the right to match.
Now, there will be no offers. No chance another team offers more than the Sixers are willing to pay. Instead, the Sixers are banking that Embiid is the player who showed so much potential in just 31 games last season — and that he'll stay healthy enough to prove it (see story).
If he avoids a major injury this season, Embiid will have a chance to earn another $30 million. Per Wojnarowski, the deal allows Embiid to earn the maximum permitted under the designated rookie scale extension, or "the super-max." Embiid could earn up to $178 million over the life of the deal if he reaches certain incentives this season (i.e. Defensive Player of the Year, league MVP or is named to the All-NBA first, second or third teams). This additional amount represents 30 percent of the team's 2018-19 salary cap (for more, if you dare, delve into the 5th year, 30 percent max criteria.)
What's more, the Sixers will receive salary cap protection should Embiid miss significant time because of injury, according to Wojnarowski. Given the risk involved with this decision, such a clause obviously makes sense.
And based on all of the above, so does this:
Embiid's extension has been described to me as "perhaps the most complex" in NBA history. Expect a lot of details to trickle out.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) October 9, 2017
Injuries forced Embiid to miss his first two NBA seasons and limited him to just 31 last season. Still recovering from a knee injury, Embiid has yet to play this preseason but has begun playing 5-on-5. He is traveling to Boston tonight and should be with the team at practice Tuesday (in Boston) (see reaction from teammates on Embiid).
Following the Sixers' loss to the Celtics Monday, they have two more preseason games before the regular-season opener Oct. 18 at Washington. Embiid said last week he has a "pretty good" chance of playing in a preseason game. They play the Nets on Long Island on Wednesday and the Heat in Kansas City on Friday.
Play in Long Island? Eh. But Kansas City? Now that's a possibility, especially considering the day before, the Sixers practice at Kansas, Embiid's old stomping grounds.
(Update: Embiid on Tuesday was declared probable to play against the Nets.)