PHILADELPHIA — A person familiar with the situation tells The Associated Press the Philadelphia 76ers and Joel Embiid have agreed on a maximum contract extension.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity Monday because the contract has not been officially announced. The person said Embiid and the Sixers have agreed on a $148 million, five-year extension and it could reach even more if the 7-foot center reaches certain incentives.
The Sixers are betting it all one of the more talented, yet more injury-prone players in the league.
Embiid’s career has been riddled with injuries dating to his college career at Kansas and all three seasons with the Sixers. Embiid, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft, played only 31 games last season and had surgery in March to repair a torn meniscus in his knee. He averaged 20.2 points and 7.8 rebounds last season.
He was only recently cleared to participate in 5-on-5 drills but the Sixers must feel confident enough in his health to offer him the max deal.
With his social media savvy and dominant offensive game, Embiid has become an instant fan favorite in Philadelphia. He’s recently been spotted at Eagles games cheering on winning kicks and been caught on tape by fans running the city streets and playing late-night tennis.
But his popularity hasn’t matched his production. The Sixers slapped him with minutes restrictions in his rookie season, even when he was healthy. The Sixers also held Embiid out for at least one game in back-to-back sets and his limited playing time was one reason he was not a strong enough candidate to win Rookie of the Year.
He helped the Sixers win eight of 10 games in one stretch in January, a stunning run for a team that won 10 games the previous season.
Embiid had 32 points and seven rebounds in a Jan. 27 game against Houston and has not played or practiced since his he was hurt.
Embiid had adopted “The Process” as a nickname and was introduced as such as part of the pregame lineup festivities. Embiid waves his arms and exhorts fans to get louder as they chant “Trust the Process!”
The Sixers are counting on Embiid and No. 1 overall picks Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz to carry the team from the bottom of the league into an Eastern Conference playoff team.