There were plenty of raised eyebrows around the NBA when the news broke that the Sixers have given Joel Embiid a potential five-year, $148 million max extension. (I say potential because there are protections in there for the Sixers in case Embiid cannot play, we will learn more about those in the coming days.) That’s a lot of money on the table for a guy who played in just 31 games in three seasons — and played well when he did, but still he hasn’t gotten to 800 NBA minutes in his career.
Embiid’s Sixers teammates have his back — they love the deal, as they told Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia.
“He’s a beast. As soon as he hits that court, I can’t name one person who’s going to stop him. Honestly, there’s nobody that can compete with him in his position. There’s no one.”
“He deserves it. I’m really happy for him. It wasn’t a surprise to me. You’ve seen how good of a player he is. He’s an even better person.”
“Very well-deserved. Obviously, there are going to be people who question it just because he hasn’t played that many games. But for us to see him in practice and saw him over those  games he played last year, if he’s able to stay healthy, I think he’s worth every single penny.”
And there are plenty more of comments just like that from other teammates. It’s what you’d expect them to say, but Embiid is genuinely loved in that locker room.
This is a contract that is impossible to judge fairly right now. If Embiid is mostly healthy and plays 65 or more games a season for the next five years, this is a great deal (and the Sixers will become a very dangerous team). If he can’t stay healthy, well, it depends on what those protections in the contract are.
But if you’re the Sixers, you have to roll the dice on this.