The Sixers are unlikely to secure disability insurance on center Joel Embiid if they sign him to a long-term deal, according to Bobby Marks of The Vertical. Embiid’s pro career was stalled for two seasons by right foot ailments and his 2016/17 campaign was limited to 31 games by a left knee injury. He’s still a prime candidate for the Rookie of the Year award after averaging 20.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG and 2.5 BPG when he was able to take the court.
Embiid is eligible for a rookie extension this summer and Marks suggests that Philadelphia should follow the Nets’ lead on the sticky insurance issue. Under the multi-year terms that Brooklyn stipulated when re-signing center Brook Lopez, its contractual obligations would have been cut in half in the second year and down to 25% in the third year if Lopez had re-injured his right foot and wound up playing fewer than 60 games and averaged less than 15 minutes. Marks suggests the Sixers should wait until next summer and see if Embiid can play regularly next season. Embiid, who will make $6.1MM in the 2017/18 season, becomes a restricted free agent in the summer of 2018.
There are built-in risks if the Sixers take a wait-and-see approach with Embiid. He could opt to sign his qualifying offer of $8MM and become an unrestricted free agent the following summer. He could also sign a monster offer sheet from another team willing to risk the possibility of Embiid suffering a major injury setback with any contractual protections like the Lopez deal.
Philadelphia appears optimistic that Embiid will be ready to go next season and GM Bryan Colangelo said recently he expects Embiid’s body will hold up on back-to-backs. Embiid underwent arthroscopic knee surgery late last month.