Do the Philadelphia 76ers have that much trust in The Process?
Joel “The Process” Embiid is officially extension-eligible. It feels weird to write those words. He has only appeared in 31 games since being drafted. And yet, he just wrapped his third season. He will be a restricted free agent next summer, in a market that might give him a max deal no matter what, if he doesn’t reach an agreement with the Sixers by the October deadline.
This puts Philly in an awkward situation, one the team isn’t discussing—not even via anonymous sources, per Calkins Media’s Tom Moore:
An NBA source said Thursday that the 76ers won’t “comment on any details of contract discussions or negotiations until (they’ve) concluded” regarding a potential Joel Embiid contract extension.
On July 1, Embiid became eligible for a four-year, $100 million or a five-year, $130 million extension that would begin in the 2018-19 season. The Sixers and Embiid’s representatives have until the mid-October start of the regular season to work out the details. If not, Embiid would become a restricted free agent next July.
Personally, this sounds like the Sixers have broached the topic with Embiid and his camp. Maybe talks were preliminary, or completely unproductive, but they had to at least stage an initial overture, if only to see how much of a discount Embiid may or may not be prepared to offer.
Remember: Despite injury concerns, Embiid is a transcendent talent, a true franchise cornerstone. He’s more of a known commodity than either Markelle Fultz or Ben Simmons. That has inherent value to the rebuilding Sixers. They recognize that. As Moore noted:
On June 23, managing owner Josh Harris said the Sixers are “focused on” Embiid’s extension and “want Joel to be on the team for a long time.”
Clearly, talks will happen at some point, if they haven’t already. It’ll be interesting to see if the two parties can find a middle ground. The financial security of an imminent extension should appeal to Embiid given his injury history. At the same time, after how well he played through 31 games, there’s a chance he elects to roll the dice if Philly isn’t dangling anything near max money.