5 things to watch for in Joel Embiid's Sixers preseason debut
12 October, 2017, 00:42 | Author: Douglas Reid
The 76ers are betting its future on Joel Embiid, signing one of the more talented, yet injury-prone, players in the game to a league maximum contract extension. They embrace his carefree attitude on Twitter, where any tweet of Embiid's resembles that of a normal 23-year-old and goes viral in seconds.
If Embiid met that narrow criteria and the Sixers chose to waive him after the 2018-19 season, he would receive $84.2 million of his full contract; after the 2019-20 season, $98.2 million; after the 2020-21 season, $113.3 million; and after the 2021-22 season, $129.4 million. Embiid has to miss 25 or more regular-season games because of injuries in those areas, and play less than 1,650 minutes, for Philadelphia to have the option of releasing him for cost savings. He averaged 20.2 points and 7.8 rebounds last season. But if he can't stay healthy, the Sixers may come to regret this decision.
"I would term it shared risk", Sixers president Bryan Colangelo said, declining to disclose salary cap protections to Philly.com. "Ownership's willingness to extend this contract reflects our collective belief in Joel Embiid and a reinforced commitment to building a championship-level basketball program".
"But for us to see him in practice and saw him over those  games he played previous year, if he's able to stay healthy, I think he's worth every single penny".
Embiid has missed the first three exhibition games of the 2017-18 preseason as the team takes a cautious approach to his return from a meniscus tear in his left knee.
Embiid recently noted he was ecstatic with his extension and looking forward to proving himself this season after the latter part of 2016-17 was cut short due to injury.
"I like that kid a lot", DeMarcus Cousins said following a game last season where he and Embiid squared off. "Because I was in the VIP section and then I had to go through basically the whole city to get back to Wells Fargo to go see somebody, and the love I got just walking around, people were screaming my name and 'Trust the process, ' it was insane".
"I love this city and I'm so, so, so, so excited to be spending my next five years here and hopefully the rest of my career, God willing". He led the 76ers to a 28-54 record, their highest win total since the 2012-13 season.
Combine that with his elite defensive ability, and Embiid is a potential top 10 player in the National Basketball Association. "I think he's got a great chance at being the best big in the league ... after I retire".
His teammates are happy, not jealous. I wouldn't want to compare Embiid to Gregg Oden, Andrew Bynum, Yao Ming. but the trend with such injuries is one that can not be overlooked. Philadelphia loves Embiid, and he loves them right back. "You've seen how great of a player he was, and he's an even better person, so he deserves that".
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