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The love affair between Joel Embiid and the city of Philadelphia is a beautiful thing, and it will continue for at least another four years.
The Philadelphia 76ers announced on Tuesday that they've signed Joel Embiid to a multi-year contract extension. The terms weren't released, but ESPN's Romona Shelburne reported that it's a four-year, $196 million supermax deal.
The deal will keep Embiid in Philly through the 2026-2027 season. It's fully guaranteed, unlike the deal he signed with the Sixers in 2017 which protected the team in case Embiid should catastrophically injure his lower back or feet. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, he'll be guaranteed a total of $261 million.
Embiid's irrepressible personality shone through even in the details of the extension. According to Shelburne, Embiid chose to represent himself in negotiations with the team.
As Shelburne pointed out, Embiid was exceptional for the Sixers this past season. More than that, he's been the key difference maker. With issues surrounding Ben Simmons' consistency and willingness to shoot the ball in the recent playoffs, Embiid continually stepped up. He played the second half of the playoffs on a torn meniscus, never complaining and putting up series-saving performances.
“Joel is the definition of elite - a role model in our community and a true MVP-caliber superstar on the court,” Sixers managing partner Josh Harris said in a statement. “Since he was drafted in 2014, his rare blend of skills, charisma and leadership has transformed this franchise. We couldn’t be more grateful and excited to continue watching him in a 76ers uniform.”
Embiid's journey with Philadelphia continues
Embiid, a 27-year-old originally from Cameroon, was the player who best represented "The Process" for the Sixers: a wholesale teardown of the team with the intention of gaining high draft picks. They chose Embiid with the third overall pick in the 2014 draft, and he eventually nicknamed himself "The Process."
The team's rebuild was painful, as were Embiid's first few years with the Sixers. He didn't play at all in the 2014-2015 or 2015-2016 seasons due to a foot injury that required two separate surgeries. He debuted in Oct. 2016, though by February was out for the season with knee issues.
But being patient with Embiid paid off. Since the 2017-2018 season, he's been the player both the team and fans hoped he would be. He's been an All-Star in each of the last four seasons, and made the All-NBA Second Team and the All-Defensive Second Team three times each. He finished second in MVP voting after the 2020-2021 season. And in the last four seasons, he's missed significant time just once: a bone bruise caused him to sit for 11 games this past spring.
While his year-by-year and career stats would be enough for Philadelphia to love him — he has a career average 24.8 points and 11.3 rebounds — his unapologetic personality has earned him the devotion of a city that, more than anything, just wants an athlete to love them back. In Embiid, they've found that and more.
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