2024 NBA free agency: Tyrese Maxey, Sixers agree to 5-year, $204M max contract

As expected, Joel Embiid's NBA All-Star playing partner is not leaving the Philadelphia 76ers.

Restricted free-agent guard Tyrese Maxey agreed to a five-year, $204 million contract with the Sixers, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. The 23-year-old is signed through the 2028-29 season, joining newest 76er Paul George as Philadelphia is retooled with a new Big 3 to challenge the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference.

Maxey averaged career highs of 25.9 points (45/37/87 shooting splits), 6.2 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game this past season, capturing Most Improved Player honors and making his first All-Star appearance.

Embiid and Maxey led Philadelphia to a 47-35 record, seventh place in the East and a berth in the play-in tournament this past season. The Sixers lost in six games to the New York Knicks in the opening round of the playoffs. Maxey averaged 29.8 points (48/40/89), 6.8 assists and 5.2 rebounds per game in the series.

Maxey's rise to max-salaried star was unexpected. The 21st overall draft pick in 2020, he played 15 minutes a night as a rookie, almost entirely off the bench, averaging just eight points on 30.1% 3-point shooting. He started 74 games the following season, finishing sixth in the Most Improved Player voting — two years before he won the award. He played half the 2022-23 season off the bench, making room for backcourt partner James Harden, before assuming the point guard duties upon Harden's exit last year.

This past season marked an unmitigated success for Maxey, though his defensive deficiencies may come under a microscope now that he will be paid 25% of the salary cap. New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson outperformed Maxey in their first-round playoff series, despite Maxey's 46-point outburst in Game 5.

Maxey is still far from a finished product. Embiid's happiness in Philadelphia will depend a great deal on Maxey's development, along with the team's prospects in free agency. The Sixers entered this summer with more than $50 million in cap space, which is pretty much spent as the teams also agreed to free agent deals with center Andre Drummond and wing Kelly Oubre Jr.