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June 15, 2021

Sixers' Joel Embiid named to All-NBA second team

Sixers center Joel Embiid has been named to the 2020-21 All-NBA second team, the third time in his career he has received the honor and the first time since 2019 that he has made an appearance on one of the top three groups of players in the league.

There will be some debate over whether he should have been a first-team player for the first time in his career, and the NBA did give some leeway to voters in a year where multiple big men were worthy of consideration. Nikola Jokic and Embiid both had forward eligibility — an absurd premise, mind you — but voters ultimately decided to reward the same guy they voted for MVP as the lone big on the first team. Had Embiid played more games this year, it would have been fascinating to see how this played out, especially considering his spot on one of the All-Defense teams.

Embiid's inclusion on an All-NBA team has even bigger implications for the center and the franchise — he is now eligible for a supermax extension in the 2021 offseason. His four-year supermax extension would be added onto the additional two years he has left on his current deal, starting at 35% of the salary cap and subject to 8% raises over the life of the deal. 

Trying to project the salary cap that far out is borderline impossible in the wake of the pandemic, but using some napkin math and some conservative growth estimates, a four-year supermax extension that begins in the 2023-24 season would probably put Embiid in the $185-190 million range over the four years of the extension, which would end shortly after Embiid turns 33 years old.

It would be a deal with healthy downside risk, considering Embiid's injury history at his size, but the franchise basically can't afford to do anything but present the offer to him the moment the option is available. Getting equivalent return for him in a trade before his contract runs out is basically impossible, and you don't want to risk irritating Embiid by hemming and hawing over money.

Notably, Embiid was not joined on the All-NBA teams by any teammates, one season after Ben Simmons snuck onto the All-NBA third team in a strange year for guards. Tobias Harris, who was left off of the midseason All-Star roster, was considered but ultimately beaten out for a spot by a talented group of forwards.

Here's the full group of All-NBA teams:

If nothing else, it's another great honor for Philadelphia's franchise player in a career they hope will continue on an MVP-level, championship-winning trajectory. A lot of work left to be done, but plenty to celebrate up to this point.

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