Joel Embiid

Report: Joel Embiid declaring for NBA draft today


A couple weeks ago, a report leaked Joel Embiid would declare for the NBA draft.

Embiid, likely sensibly, denied making such a decision.

But with Embiid holding a news conference at 3 p.m. today, the writing is on the wall – and on ZagsBlog:

Joel Embiid will announce his plans to enter the NBA Draft during a press conference with Kansas coach Bill Self on Wednesday at 2 p.m central time, multiple sources told

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Embiid could be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft – if he’s deemed healthy.

The Kansas center, who averaged 11.2 points on 63 percent shooting, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in 23.1 minutes per game as a freshman, wowed with his combination of skills and athleticism. At 7-foot and 250 pounds, he has the body for the NBA. And he just turned 20.

There’s so much to like about him – except a back injury that kept him out of the Jayhawks’ final six games. As Nerlens Noel showed last season, an injury can cause even highly regarded prospects to fall in the draft.

Embiid will have a lot of questions to answer before June 26, and he’ll start that process today. However, he’ll answer the biggest questions not in news conferences or interviews with NBA teams, but through his medical testing.

If Embiid aces those tests, he could be the No. 1 pick depending which team wins the lottery. If questions remain about his health, he’s still likely a top-five pick – which is a credit to how impressive he is in every other consideration.

LeBron says “get it done” message was for both Cavaliers, Thompson

LeBron James
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Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.

So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.

Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother @realtristan13

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.

When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.

At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.

The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.

China basketball qualifies for 2016 Olympics

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China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.

China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.

Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.

This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.

The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.