SEPTEMBER 29TH: The team finally acknowledged the signing, including Embiid on its preseason roster.
AUGUST 28TH: The Sixers still haven’t made an official announcement, but the appearance of the move on the RealGM transactions log provides further confirmation that the signing has taken place.
AUGUST 26TH: No. 3 overall pick Joel Embiid has signed his rookie scale contract with the Sixers, according to his verified Twitter account. The team has yet to make an official announcement, but it appears as though the last remaining first-round pick from this June who had yet to sign with his NBA team or agree to play elsewhere has inked his deal. He’ll make nearly $3.69MM, as our table of salaries for this year’s first-rounders shows.
Embiid was a strong contender, if not the front-runner, to become the No. 1 overall pick until he suffered a broken foot shortly before the draft. The most recent estimate has him out anywhere from between November and February, though it appears as though he’s in line to see action at some point this season for Philadelphia. A back injury that forced him to miss the final six games of his college career at Kansas sparked concern for much of the spring, but ultimately that didn’t seem to depress his draft stock nearly as much as his foot did.
Whenever he’s healthy enough to play, he’ll look to build upon last season’s breakout campaign, one in which he came to join college teammate Andrew Wiggins, a far more heralded prospect coming out of high school, and Jabari Parker as contenders for the top pick. The 7’0″ center only began playing basketball in 2011, so his skills are raw, but with a game that shows shades of Hakeem Olajuwon, his upside is vast, as Zach Links of Hoops Rumors examined this past April in his Prospect Profile of Embiid.
He’ll join fellow Cameroonian native and mentor Luc Mbah a Moute on the Sixers, and Mbah a Moute’s close ties to Embiid appeared to be one of the reasons Philadelphia acquired the veteran forward as part of its participation in the Kevin Love trade. The 20-year-old Embiid won’t encounter much in the way of immediate expectations in Philadelphia, which is in a long-term rebuilding effort, and while Embiid is a centerpiece of that project, the Sixers appear willing to wait for his skills to more fully develop.
The Sixers had been carrying 16 players after Tuesday’s acquisition of Hasheem Thabeet and before Embiid’s signing, though Philadelphia appears poised to waive Thabeet. Embiid is one of just eight players with fully guaranteed deals on Philadelphia’s roster.
Eddie Scarito contributed to this post.