Author: Brett Pollakoff

Indiana Pacers v Philadelphia 76ers

Report: ‘Legitimate chance’ Joel Embiid could once again miss the entire season


In each of the last two NBA Drafts, the Sixers selected what they hoped would be cornerstone big men in Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid.

While both are loaded with talent, the moves were viewed as being at least slightly risky, considering that both players were injured at the time and would need to miss the entirety of their first NBA seasons.

Things worked out according to plan with Noel, who showed all kinds of promise while appearing in 75 games last season. But for Embiid, a recent setback with his foot injury could put things on hold for much longer than the team anticipated.

From Keith Pompey of

76ers center Joel Embiid may not be available to play at the start of the NBA season after the latest setback in the healing of his right foot, an NBA source said Sunday. There’s also a legitimate chance that the 7-footer could miss the entire season.

Another source, an Eastern Conference executive, said Sunday that the 76ers’ rebuilding plan is doomed if Embiid is unable to remain healthy or play at a high level.

“He was their guy,” said the executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “They were hoping he was a franchise player. If he’s not a franchise player, their whole plan is gone. . . . If Embiid can’t play or if he can’t reach a superstar level, their plan is really in trouble.”

The part about the rebuilding plan being “doomed” if Embiid ends up being a bust isn’t exactly true, because more losing in Philadelphia would mean more lottery picks, and a chance to replace him with rookie talent in the future.

But there’s no question the process would be delayed, and it’s worth wondering just how much patience ownership will have if the rebuilding drags on season after miserable season.

Al Jefferson declines to opt out, will return to Hornets next season


Al Jefferson could have become an unrestricted free agent this summer, but decided to take his $13.5 million player option to remain with the Hornets for an additional season.

Jefferson said it was highly unlikely that he’d opt out to explore the market, and with the deadline to do so just a day away, his agent made it official.

From Marc Stein of

Facing a Monday deadline to invoke the final remaining season on his contract or opt for free agency, Charlotte Hornets big man Al Jefferson is staying right where he is, according to his agent.

Jeff Schwartz, Jefferson’s longtime agent, told he will formally notify the Hornets that his 30-year-old client will delay his next foray in free agency for one more year.

There are a couple of reasons that this makes a lot of sense.

First off, Jefferson completed what for him would be considered a down season; his averages of 16.6 points and 8.4 rebounds were the lowest they’d been in eight years. And, Jefferson missed 17 games due to injury, including the last seven of the season after “hearing a pop” in his calf/knee area which, even if he had returned, would have kept him at less than 100 percent.

The combination of being injured to end the season along with a slowed level of production doesn’t bode well for a player looking for a huge payday in free agency. Add in the fact that the salary cap is going to spike the following summer, and it’s clear that Jefferson made the easy choice.

Norris Cole let Stephen Curry handle one of his Miami Heat championship rings (PHOTO)

curry ring

Norris Cole has two championship rings, thanks to being fortunate enough to play alongside Dwyane Wade and LeBron James in his first two NBA seasons as a member of the Miami Heat.

Cole, now with the Pelicans, is at the Finals and is handling some media responsibilities for the league. And in a meeting with Stephen Curry on Facebook, Cole handed over one of those rings in order for Curry to give it a hands-on inspection.

This is obviously harmless in the grand scheme of things. But considering that LeBron James is battling Curry in these Finals, it’s worth wondering how he’d feel about a former teammate showing off his jewelry like this, which undoubtedly will provide LeBron’s primary opponent with an unnecessary source of additional motivation.