Joel Embiid recently signed a five-year, $148 million extension with the 76ers, and the debates began almost Immediately about whether Embiid could live up to that contract, given his injury history.
The details are finally out on Embiid's contract, and, as long as he doesn't suffer a repeat injury, Embiid is going have a big pay day. However, according to ESPN, if Embiid suffers an injury related to a previous injury then the 76ers would be able to cut him outright.
Specific injuries are laid out in the contract and only include past problem areas with Embiid's feet and back, sources said. 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.
For example, if Embiid hypothetically suffered a serious knee or wrist injury -- something outside the contractual language surrounding the feet and back -- the 76ers have no avenue to waive Embiid to reclaim any portion of his salary. And given Embiid's rare talent, there's a belief that he'd have to suffer a career-ending injury to inspire the 76ers to release him.
If Embiid meets that narrow criteria and the Sixers decided to waive him after the 2018-19 season, he would receive $84.2 million of his full contract; $98.2 million after the 2019-20 season; $113.3 million after the 20201-21 season and $129.4 million after the 2021-22 season.
There is a lot of detail in Embiid's contract. According to ESPN, it's 35-plus pages with details of very specific circumstances for how Embiid can be waived or fully paid.
Embiid has been incredibly exciting early in his career, but the injuries are a major concern. He missed the first two years of his career from injuries, and when he did finally play he got hurt again. The hope is that he's moved past these injuries and will be an impact player for years to come. That said, it was smart of the Sixers to give themselves an out for re-occurring injuries.
Philadelphia is taking a risk by giving Embiid a giant contract, but the payoff is well worth the risks. The sample size of play from Embiid may be small, but he was so great when he was on the floor that the Sixers had to make a choice. Do they risk the possibility of losing out on Embiid later on without a five-year contract or do they gamble and lock him in now? They chose the latter. Time will tell if it pays off.