Philadelphia 76ers: If Joel Embiid doesn’t deserve a supermax, who does?

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Why did the Philadelphia 76ers do “The Process?” To land generationally talented superstars.

Is Joel Embiid one of said generationally talented superstars? Yes.

What kind of contract do generationally talented superstars sign? Supermax contracts.

So, should the Philadelphia 76ers sign Joel Embiid, a generationally talented superstar player, to a supermax contract?


Okay, article over; thanks for coming, folks!

… what? You want a little bit more analysis than that? *sigh* alright, let’s dig a little deeper.

The Philadelphia 76ers have a legitimate player worthy of a supermax contract.

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Not every NBA player can get a supermax contract, literally.

In order to be eligible for the richest contract in the NBA – which, fun fact, was originally introduced in 2017 –  a player has to have been in the NBA for at least seven seasons and either 1. been named to an All-NBA team in the most recent season or both seasons before it, 2. be named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in the most recent season or both seasons before it, or 3. be named NBA MVP in any of the three previous seasons (as per NBC Sports Washington).

As things presently stand, only six players in the NBA are on supermax contracts at the moment, and only three new players, Joel Embiid, Luka Doncic, and Nikola Jokic, are eligible for it heading into the 2021 NBA offseason.

So, unlike your traditional max contract, which has been handed out to everyone from Nicolas Batum to our very own Tobias Harris, only a select few players are even eligible for such an honor, and when they are, players usually either accept it or force a trade out of town to relaunch their careers elsewhere.

Which of those outcomes, may I ask, would you like to see happen with Embiid?

Now sure, some will point to Embiid’s injury history as an example of why the team should be wary of signing the 27-year-old superstar to a max contract. They’ll point to Embiid’s previous contract, which had injury protections that were ultimately never triggered, as an example of how a compromised deal could be reached that could help both sides sleep soundly at night, but frankly, why on earth would “The Process” agree to such a bargain when he doesn’t have to?

Remember, Embiid really has all the power in this situation. Much like how fans of the Philadelphia 76ers have been keeping a close eye on whether or not Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal will outwardly demand a trade, all Embiid has to do to completely blow up the team Daryl Morey has put in place is say he wants out on social media – his medium of choice – and suddenly everything has changed.

Again, I ask, do you really want that to happen? Because I sure don’t.

Embiid earned a spot on an All-NBA team in 2021. Embiid earned his place as an NBA starter in each of the last four seasons, which isn’t technically a requirement for a supermax contract but is still prescient. Heck, Embiid even made it to seven years of NBA experience, a thought that felt borderline unimaginable when he was sitting out his second-straight season in 2015-16.

If you want to argue that Embiid – or any player – isn’t worthy of 35 percent of the team’s salary cap, that is 100 percent your prerogative. In a league where the average player only makes $8.32 million, giving a guy a deal in the neighborhood of $40 million a year is nothing to sneeze at but is that the National Basketball Association’s fault? The Players Association? The TV companies who pay out exorbitant money to broadcast games for our entertainment?

Considering the Sixers’ current cap situation, even if Embiid was off the books entirely, it’s not like the team would be players in free agency anyway, as they’d only have a little over $12 million to spend before hitting the NBA’s salary cap.

If you think you can build a better team in 2021-22 with $12 million but no Embiid, have at it, but in my humble opinion, the Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment group’s luxury tax bill isn’t going to weigh too heavily on my mind as long as Morey has the freedom to operate without impunity.

Next. DeMarcus Cousins is the perfect foil for Joel Embiid. dark

If the Philadelphia 76ers are unable to secure a contract extension with Joel Embiid, there will 100 percent be a market for his services. You’d see trade offers the likes of which the NBA has seldom seen, and Daryl Morey would be able to reposition his team however he’d please. If that’s how you think the team should re-position themselves for the future, there’s nothing I can really say to change your mind, but, for one final time, answer me this: If every other team in the NBA save maybe the Denver Nuggets would eagerly give Joel Embiid a supermax contract, why on earth would the Philadelphia 76ers do anything else?