Sixers Rumors: ‘Growing sense’ 76ers will extend Joel Embiid

By Tim Kelly, Sports Talk Philly editor

Despite knowing that he was going to probably miss his first NBA season, then-Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie took a risk and drafted Joel Embiid with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. The same talent that led the Sixers to draft Embiid despite red flags health-wise, appears to be the same talent that may get the team to give him a long-term contract despite him only having played 31 games in the first three years of his career. 

In a piece breaking down the contractual futures of the 2014 NBA Draft class, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders did say that there's a feeling from some in the league that the Sixers will ultimately sign Embiid to an extension: 

League sources said recently they there was a growing sense that the 76ers would indeed extend Embiid, and that a deal structured something like Antetokounmpo’s four-year $100 million pact would make sense given the injury history.

Kyler did go on to suggest that as a restricted free-agent Embiid may be able to get a larger contract, should he stay healthy this season. Because of that, he did say that an extension isn't a "slam dunk." Turning down a deal in the range of $100 million would be a very calculated risk for Embiid, though, as the most games he's played in any NBA season is 31 and he missed the NCAA tournament in his lone year at Kansas. 

Of course, if Embiid is healthy, he's worth a max-contract and then some. Even with a 25-minute restriction a year ago, he averaged 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks-per-game, among other impressive statistics. Embiid's per-36 numbers, in many cases, were on-pace with Hall of Famers Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O'Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. All of this came after he had missed the first two seasons of his NBA career. 

This offseason, Embiid's teammate Richaun Holmes told John Clark of Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia that he believes that Embiid, 23, is going to be a Hall of Famer. In January, which was the best month of Embiid's young career, the previously mentioned Olajuwon said that he saw "shades of himself" in Embiid. All of this, of course, is contingent on Embiid being able to stay healthy. 

A clean bill of health for Embiid may be the best gift that Philadelphia sports fans could receive. For Embiid's long-term financial viability, especially if he doesn't sign an extension this offseason, a clean bill of health would be the best gift he could receive in his life.