Joel Embiid just got PUH-AID…in apparently the most complicated manner imaginable.
ESPN.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski first broke the news that the Philadelphia 76ers struck a five-year, $148 million extension with the skyscraper that could rise to as much as $178 million if he meets certain qualifications and incentives during it:
Embiid, one of the NBA’s most talented and popular young players, has the ability to earn an additional $30 million — bringing the value of the contract to as much as $178 million — if he earns an All-NBA first-, second- or third-team selection, or is named MVP this season, league sources said. The designated rookie scale extension — termed “the super-max” — reflects 30 percent of the 2018-19 salary cap if Embiid reaches the performance-based criteria.
Based on the details of what sources are describing as a complex contract structure, the 76ers would have to waive Embiid for him not to reach the full value of his $148 million extension.
Full details on the contract’s structure have yet to trickle out. We know, per the CBA, that unlikely incentives can only account for up to 15 percent of a player’s salary in a given season. We also know, thanks to Woj, the Sixers will need to waive Embiid if they’re going to capitalize on those non-guarantees. So, obviously, this pact will be a convoluted one—among the most complicated ever, in fact, as ESPN.com’s Zach Lowe heard:
Embiid's extension has been described to me as "perhaps the most complex" in NBA history. Expect a lot of details to trickle out.
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) October 9, 2017
Regardless of how much the Sixers covered themselves with this deal, they’re taking a huge risk. Embiid has only appeared in 31 games through his first three seasons. He’ll likely enter 2017-18 on a strict minutes cap as well, following recovery from a meniscus injury in his left knee that prevented him from engaging in full-on basketball activities until last week.
But the perils and pratfalls here do not belie Embiid’s talent. He was transcendent whenever he took the floor last year, and that was with zero NBA experience. With a little more time and good health, he’ll be even better—a genuine anchor for a championship contender.