The Philadelphia 76ers, after investing a potential $148 million in Joel Embiid, are being understandably cautious with their oft-injured star.
Embiid, however, is not a fan of the precaution.
After the 76ers said they will impose a minutes restriction on Embiid to start the season, Embiid blasted the decision to reporters on Tuesday, calling it “f—ing bull—-.”
“I wish I was playing more minutes,” Embiid said (via Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia). “I think I’m ready for more than, I don’t know, whatever number they have.”
76ers coach Brett Brown said on Monday that the team doesn’t have an exact number for Embiid’s minutes, saying it will likely be in the “teens” though it could depend on game flow, too. Embiid estimated he’ll play around 16 minutes per game. He played 15 in two preseason games this season.
The 76ers’ hesitancy is understandable. After missing the first two seasons of his career with foot injuries, Embiid played 31 games last season, looking like a revelation on the court before tearing his meniscus and missing the rest of the season.
The Sixers and Embiid agreed to a five-year, $148 million extension before the season, but the deal has potential to go in two directions. If Embiid hits certain benchmarks, the deal could be worth up to $178 million. However, if Embiid suffers more specific injuries, the team could waive him and owe him less money on the deal.
Embiid seems to know it’s in his best interest, but it’s nonetheless something to watch as the season goes on. How will Philadelphia’s best player handle reduced minutes if he thinks he can play more?