All we know about Joel Embiid is that he’s not going to play for the Sixers this season. Beyond that, details of when he’s going to undergo surgery on his right foot and what his rehab timeline will be like are fuzzy at best. But the surgery is going to happen soon, according to a new report from John Gonzalez of CSNPhilly.com, who also says that Embiid has reached out to Kevin Durant for advice on dealing with the foot surgery:
Joel Embiid has not yet undergone a second surgery on his right foot, sources close to the situation told CSNPhilly.com, however, that procedure is still scheduled to take place and Embiid is still expected to miss the upcoming 2015-16 season.
The source said Embiid also reached out to Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant. The Thunder star underwent a bone graft on his right foot in late March. That surgery was performed at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, home to one of at least 12 doctors the Sixers and Embiid have so far consulted about Embiid’s hyper-complicated situation.
When asked whether the surgery would occur in the next week to two weeks, once source would only say that it would happen “in the near future.” When asked whether Embiid was having second thoughts about the procedure, a second source said, no, he is not second-guessing it. A Sixers spokesperson could not be reached for comment.
This whole situation is just a bummer for the Sixers, and especially for Embiid. The former No. 3 overall pick didn’t play in his rookie season, and now he’s going to have to miss another full year with another surgery on the same foot.
Some encouraging news on the Kevin Durant health front: he won’t be playing in the exhibition game, but his representatives tell USA Today‘s Sam Amick that the 2014 league MVP is going to participate in practice with Team USA this week in Las Vegas.
According to his agent, Rich Kleiman of Roc Nation Sports, and his manager, Charlie Bell, the Oklahoma City Thunder star who played just 27 games last season because of a fracture in his right foot plans to practice on Tuesday and Wednesday with Team USA at minicamp in Las Vegas. Durant will not, however, take part in the showcase game on Thursday at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.
USA Basketball president Jerry Colangelo has said that players who want to be considered for the Olympic team next summer need to at least come to the minicamp, even if they only show up for the meeting. That’s all LeBron James is doing. Durant played in just 27 games last season after undergoing foot surgery, so it would have made sense for him to take a similar approach, especially with his free agency looming in a year. Durant feeling healthy enough to at least go through practice with Team USA is definitely a good sign for the Thunder this season.
Slowly but surely, details of the NBA’s 2015-16 regular-season schedule are emerging. The whole thing is expected to be released officially this week, but four of the five Christmas Day matchups have come out. The Pelicans will play the Heat at noon, and there will be a Finals rematch between the Cavaliers and Warriors as well as a Lakers-Clippers matchup.
Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman adds a fourth game to that list: Bulls vs. Thunder, in Oklahoma City.
The Thunder will be home for Christmas.
For the sixth consecutive season, Oklahoma City will be featured in the league’s biggest holiday showcase when it hosts Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls on Christmas Day, The Oklahoman has learned.
It will be the first time the Thunder has hosted a Christmas game since 2011, when it defeated Orlando inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The Thunder is 4-1 in Christmas games, with wins against Denver in 2010, the Magic in 2011, New York in 2013 and San Antonio in 2014. OKC’s lone Christmas Day loss came at Miami in 2012.
The league has not yet determined the time of the Thunder-Bulls game. An afternoon tip is likely.
If everyone involved is healthy, this should be a good one. We haven’t had a Derrick Rose vs. Russell Westbrook point-guard matchup since December 6, 2010. Jimmy Butler, who made a name for himself this postseason defending LeBron James in the playoffs, will likely be matched up with Kevin Durant. The coaching battle between Fred Hoiberg and Billy Donovan, two highly successful college coaches with no NBA experience, will be fun to watch as well.
This leaves one Christmas Day matchup yet to be determined. Spurs-Rockets would make the most sense out of the realistic possibilities: plenty of star power (James Harden, Dwight Howard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tim Duncan) and two legitimate title contenders. We’ll find out tomorrow.
The full schedule for the 2015-16 regular season is expected to be released this week, but bits and pieces of it have been trickling out ahead of the announcement. The Oklahoman‘s Darnell Mayberry is reporting that the Thunder will kick off their season at home against the Spurs in what should be a pretty great matchup:
This will be a phenomenal game, assuming everybody’s healthy. The Spurs made the biggest free-agent acquisition of the summer in LaMarcus Aldridge, and stole David West for the veteran’s minimum. Kevin Durant played just 27 games last season after undergoing foot surgery, and the Thunder expect the 2014 league MVP to be healthy to start the year. There’s a very good chance this matchup could be a preview of the Western Conference Finals, as it has been twice before.
Just hours after an ESPN.com report on the contract impasse between the Cavs and Tristan Thompson, agent Rich Paul has told Sportsnet’s Michael Grange that Thompson is seriously considering taking Cleveland’s qualifying offer, and if he does that, he will not be back next season.
The qualifying offer for Thompson is about $6.8 million. In the short term, it would be a huge break for Cleveland that their already enormous luxury-tax bill won’t also include a max deal for Thompson. Long-term, it casts his future with the team in doubt.
Next summer, the salary cap is expected to jump by as much as $20 million, which will give most of the teams in the league cap space. Inevitably, someone who doesn’t get one of the top-level free agents (such as Kevin Durant) will overpay for a second-tier name, and Thompson is in perfect position to capitalize on the demand that will be created. He’s going to get paid, whether in Cleveland or elsewhere.
If Thompson signs the qualifying offer, the Cavs’ options are limited. They can’t trade him without his consent (the collective bargaining agreement gives players who sign the qualifying offer veto power over trades).
This is a strong leverage play from Paul, going on the record to say that his client will leave the Cavs if he signs the qualifying offer. The Cavs’ options are now two: they can either give Thompson the max deal he wants, or lose him next summer without the option of trading him anywhere he doesn’t want to go. Neither situation is ideal, but Thompson is an important role player for the Cavs. The better option is probably to pay him now.