On Tuesday, Joel Embiid will have season-ending surgery to repair a fracture in his right foot. It will be his second surgery on that foot, the first coming shortly before the 2014 draft. Normally, when a player misses time, the league reimburses the team for 60 percent of the player’s salary. But if an injury is deemed pre-existing, that doesn’t apply. Apparently, concerns about Embiid’s right foot were bad enough that the Sixers aren’t going to be able to collect that insurance money.
From ESPN.com’s Darren Rovell:
The $9 million the Philadelphia 76ers ownership will have paid Joel Embiid in his first two years, without having ever played an NBA game, will come out of their pockets.
Although Embiid’s contract is insured, since it is among the five highest salaries on the team, sources say Embiid’s right foot was excluded from the policy because it was a pre-existing injury. Embiid first had surgery on the foot the week before last year’s NBA draft and was subsequently taken by the 76ers with the third pick.
That’s never a great sign. Amar’e Stoudemire’s five-year, $100 million deal with the Knicks from 2010 was famously uninsured against a knee injury, and those injury concerns were part of why Phoenix didn’t offer him a new five-year deal at the time. If Embiid ever gets healthy (and hopefully he does), the right foot is always going to be a red flag to teams thinking about signing or trading for him. And you never want a big man to have foot problems. Everything about Embiid’s situation is a huge bummer.