Trust the direct deposit. Joel Embiid has agreed to a five-year, $148 million maximum rookie extension, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday.
Held back by season-ending foot injuries his first and second seasons, Embiid has logged only 31 games in his career, all from last season (which was also cut short because of injury). Which means Embiid’s deal is, as The Ringer’s Zach Kram points out, worth $188,295 for every minute the center has played in the NBA so far.
Health concerns remain front and center in the debate over whether the Sixers should stake their future on Embiid. As has been the case for every season of his career, it remains unclear whether he will be able to start in the season opener. Embiid was cleared for drills and five-on-five play just last week, which marked the first time since surgery for a meniscus tear in his left knee in March that he could participate in a full practice.
But what the franchise—and the NBA world—saw in Embiid’s limited minutes last season was evidently enough. Embiid, technically still a rookie last season, finished third in Rookie of the Year voting despite missing more than half of the Sixers’ games. He might’ve even won if he had played just a few more, given his incredible production in the games he did log.
When he’s on the court, the center looks like a star. That’s what the 76ers are, quite literally, banking on.