All-Star center Joel Embiid agreed to a max contract extension with the 76ers this week that will keep the affable big man in Philadelphia through 2026, at least. Embiid has clearly established himself as one of the most dominant players in the entire NBA, and he came in second in MVP voting behind Nuggets center Nikola Jokic last season. With the former lottery pick now locked up for the foreseeable future, the Sixers will continue to try to build a championship team around Embiid.
Here's a look at what his new contract extension means for the Sixers moving forward.
1. Philadelphia's championship window will remain open
As long as Embiid is healthy and continues to play at -- or near -- the level that he did last season, the Sixers will continue to be in the conversation in the Eastern Conference. He's that good. Through the first 260 games of his career, Embiid has averaged more points per 36 minutes (29.3) than any other player in NBA history, and he boasts one of the most diverse skill sets that the league has seen.
Embiid is currently 27 years old, and he's now under contract with the Sixers for the next six years -- that's likely the bulk of his prime playing days, which means that Philadelphia has until then to build a title team around the star center. It's up to the front office to maximize the rest of Embiid's prime. Players like him don't come around every day.
The Sixers have been unable to construct a title team around Embiid to this point, but not because of a lack of effort. The team has made a multitude of moves over the past several seasons in an effort to find the right puzzle pieces to fit in around Embiid, but that puzzle still appears to be a work in progress. Nonetheless, the Sixers have made the conference semifinals in three of the past four seasons, and twice they have stretched the series to seven games. Obviously, they'll need to be better moving forward if the team is going to make its first conference finals appearance since 2001, but locking Embiid up for the next half-decade is a solid start.
2. Trio of Embiid, Simmons, Harris locked up for the next three seasons
Philadelphia's trio of Embiid, Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris is now locked up through 2024, as all three players are under contract for the next three seasons, at least. Tobias Harris still has three years remaining on the five-year, $180 million deal that he signed with the Sixers in 2019, while Simmons still has four years left on the five-year, $170 million extension he inked during the same summer as Harris' signing. Neither deal includes a player option. Embiid is now under contract with the Sixers for the next five seasons at least, six at the most -- the final year of his new extension includes a player option.