Philadelphia — The 76ers are betting its future on Joel Embiid, signing one of the more talented, yet injury-prone, players in the game to a league maximum contract extension.
Embiid and the Sixers agreed on a $148 million, five-year extension and it could increase even more if the 7-foot center reaches certain incentives.
The extension confirmed Tuesday starts with the 2018-19 season. He’ll make $6.1 million this season in the final year of his rookie deal.
Embiid tweeted a photo of himself early Tuesday with the caption, “The Process to be Continued……I Love You Philadelphia #5MoreYears.”
“I’m so thrilled to be in this position,” Embiid said. “I want to thank ownership, management, the coaches and most of all the fans, for supporting me throughout this whole process.
“I love this city and I’m so, so, so, so excited to be spending my next five years here and hopefully the rest of my career, God willing. Trust ‘The Process.’”
Embiid’s career has been riddled with injuries dating to his college career at Kansas and all three seasons with the Sixers.
Embiid, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft, played only 31 games last season and had minor surgery in March to repair a torn meniscus in his knee. He has yet play a preseason game.
“He’s a difference maker,” coach Brett Brown said Monday. “He has a chance to be great. There’s still lots of work to be done. When you look at his body of work … he’s really only been playing basketball for six years, he’s just scratching the surface.”
The 23-year-old Embiid, a native of Cameroon, was only recently cleared to participate in 5-on-5 drills. But the Sixers must feel confident enough in his health to offer him the max deal.
“Joel is only scratching the surface, but he has all the potential and promise to go down as one of the all-time greats to wear a Sixers jersey,” team president Bryan Colangelo said.
The New Orleans Pelicans say veteran guard Rajon Rondo is expected to be sidelined about four to six weeks following surgery on Tuesday to repair a core muscle injury.
Rondo’s injury occurred during New Orleans’ preseason game at Oklahoma City on Friday night.
The Pelicans say Rondo traveled after the injury to Philadelphia, where he was operated on by sports hernia specialist Dr. William Meyers.
The Pelicans acquired Rondo as a free agent this summer. He was expected to start in the back court alongside guard Jrue Holiday.