Should the 76ers Offer Joel Embiid the Supermax?
With Joel Embiid finishing the 2020-21 season on the second All-NBA team, the runner-up for MVP officially met the requirements for a Supermax contract. Embiid would become only the seventh player to sign a Supermax, joining the likes of Steph Curry, Damian Lillard, and James Harden to name a few.
Currently Embiid is heading into year four of his five-year max contract from back in 2018. The numbers on a potential Supermax contract are still a bit up in the air, but the consensus is that the deal would be for at least four years, and net Joel Embiid around 190 million. That equates to 45 million dollars a year for Embiid, and the contract would keep him in Philly through 2028. So the question remains, is it smart to give Joel Embiid the Supermax?
On one side of the coin, this seems like a no brainer. Joel Embiid is coming off another All-Star appearance, a second All-NBA team finish, and a near-MVP season. Statisitcally Embiid ended the 2020-21 campaign averaging a near 29-point double double a game. This coming while he shot over 50 percent from the field, and averaged ten foul shots a game. To truly put the cherry on top, the big man even shot about 38 percent from three, demonstrating how un-guardable Embiid was.
Joel’s combination of elite footwork in the post with his focus on a reliable mid-range and fadeaway jumper gives opposing defenses nightmares. It got so bad teams actively chose to double Embiid every time down the court, and that couldn’t even stop Joel who routinely found open shooters out of the traps.
Outside of his game, there’s no denying that Joel Embiid has become one of if not the staple athlete of Philadelphia sports. In the wake of the Carson Wentz fallout, combined with the ongoing drama surrounding Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid has routinely shown how much Philly means to him.
Also Phillies fans I don’t need you coming at me on Twitter, yes I know Bryce Harper is also a face of Philadelphia sports but until he plays a playoff game at Citizens Bank Park he isn’t touching Embiid. Joel has already locked in his allegiance to Philadelphia, so why shouldn’t the Sixers reward that with a contract that would likely making Embiid a Sixer for life?
On the flipside, there are some valid concerns with giving Joel Embiid a Supermax contract, and it all revolves around health. To date the highest percentage of regular season games Embiid has played in is a mere 78 percent. While Embiid has certainly had his fair share of freak injuries, from the terrible finger injury in the 2019-20 campaign to an orbital skull fracture in the 2017-18 season. Despite those freak injuries, Embiid has shown his fair share of knee problems, including this year’s regular and post-season.
On top of the injuries, it is a proven fact that the body of a seven-footer doesn’t age well. If the Sixers ink Embiid down for the Supermax, Joel wouldn’t be off the books until his mid thirties. While Embiid has certainly improved his overall health and eating habits in his time with Philly, how much longer will his body hold up? How effective will Embiid be towards the end of his Supermax while he takes nearly 50 million dollars off the cap on his own? These are all valid questions that make giving Joel the Supermax not as easy as it may seem.
With all the evidence presented, what do I truly think? In all honesty, I’d still give Embiid the Supermax with little hesitation. Yes, the overall future heath and injury concerns are valid, but there’s no denying Embiid’s dominance. Maybe a part of it revolves around recency bias in the wake of the Carson Wentz and potential Ben Simmons fallout. I truly cannot take Philly losing more stars that the fanbase touted as the next great saviors of our sports franchises. So with that in mind, I believe Joel Embiid should be inked down as a Sixer for life behind the Supermax contract.
Mandatory Credit: AP Photo/Matt Slocum