Is Embiid worth the risk for the Sixers?

Is Embiid worth the risk for the Sixers?

Embiid joined fellow 2014 draft class players Gary Harris, T.J. Warren and Bogdan Bogdonavic, in signing an extension prior to the October 16 deadline. The Kansas product has appeared in 31 total games since the 76ers selected him with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft. If Embiid is able to play for the majority of the next six years, that extension will look like a bargain.

Oft-injured 23-year-old center Joel Embiid - who has played just 31 games through the first three years of his National Basketball Association career after also missing the 2014 Big 12 and NCAA Tournaments because of a back injury suffered in a one-and-done college season at Kansas - on Monday agreed in principle to a 5-year, $148 million designated rookie scale maximum contract extension, ESPN reported.

It might seem silly to think that a guy who can't stay healthy in his early 20s is going to age well enough to warrant the kind of salary-cap space that the Sixers will be devoting to Embiid. During his rookie season, Embiid averaged 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks from just 25.4 minutes per game, while shooting an impressive 37 percent from three-point range.

Despite playing in just 31 games last season, Embiid's transcendent skills were obvious. Opponents shot just 42.4 percent from the field with Embiid on the floor, and 46.9 percent when he wasn't playing.

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As good as the Sixers expect Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz to be, Joel Embiid is the keystone of the franchise.

However, this means that an unhealthy Embiid would make $74 million on a five-year deal. Let Embiid's contract situation linger and there's a potential future in which the Sixers not only have to watch him play for another team, but also pay considerable money to a far lesser player to replace him.

As we await more details about the specific language in Embiid's contract, one thing is for sure.

It's not like there was a long line of suitors for restricted free agent big men this past summer.

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The move is huge for the Sixers, who have been in limbo on whether or not they would extend Embiid's contract based off of his injury history.

Sources will only say at this point that the Sixers have "some" safeguards in place to protect them from the possibility of Embiid missing significant time with injuries. The Sixers had until October 16 to extend Embiid, and got it done a week prior to that.

For starters, this is a clear sign that the Sixers are fully committed to building the franchise around the 23-year-old.

"I'm so thrilled to be in this position", Embiid said in a release.

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