Why Joel Embiid is denying he’s declared for the NBA draft

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Adrian Wojnarowski, a credible journalist, reported earlier today Joel Embiid would declare for the NBA draft.

On Twitter, Embiid is telling a different story:

There are two possibilities:

1. Embiid truly hasn’t made up his mind, and Wojnarowski’s report is wrong.

2. Embiid has made up his mind but is protecting himself.

In an effort to aid millionaire coaches at the expense of the athletes the organization feigns to protect, the NCAA has instituted an earlier deadline to withdraw for the draft than the NBA has in place.

Underclassmen must withdraw from the draft before April 16 to remain eligible for the NCAA. But if they never declare in the first place, they can always turn pro before the NBA deadline of April 27 – because if players decide to go pro between April 16 and April 27, they don’t need to preserve their NCAA eligibility anyway.

For someone like Embiid, whose back injury plays a key factor in his draft stock, the buffer period could be essential. In case his injury worsens and he wants to return to Kansas, he’d give himself more leeway by waiting to officially declare.

Embiid might not, and probably won’t stretch the decision all the way to April 27. If he hires an agent, who can guide him through this process and/or front him money, Embiid would no longer be eligible for college basketball.

But until he hires an agent, why officially declare?