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Watch Joel Embiid drain halfcourt shot, gloat in front of teammates

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Joel Embiid is feeling pretty good about himself right now. As he should. There are about 148 million reasons he should be feeling good right now.

So good that during practice he’s taking halfcourt shots — and draining them. Then gloating and taunting teammates about it.

It’s good to be Joel Embiid right now.

 

Report: Contract allows Sixers to waive Joel Embiid if foot, back issues cost 25 games or more

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If Joel Embiid stays healthy, he will get all of his max contract extension — approximately $148 million over five years, something he and the Sixers agreed to on Monday. And from what we’ve seen, he would be well worth it.

The question is, what if he doesn’t stay healthy? He has played just 31 games across three NBA seasons, that’s one big Les Misérables-sized red flag.

The Sixers put protections in the contract, and now we have found out some of what they are. If Embiid misses 25 or more games — playing in fewer than 57 — in the final years of the contract due to the recurring injuries that have cost him time in the past, the Sixers have the option to waive him. Adrian Wojnarowski and Bobby Marks of ESPN have the details.

Across each of the final four seasons of the extension, ending with the 2022-23 season, the 76ers could waive Embiid for a financial benefit if he’s lost because of a contractually agreed upon injury that causes him to miss 25 or more regular-season games and if he plays less than 1,650 minutes, league sources said.

Specific injuries are laid out in the contract and only include past problem areas with Embiid’s feet and back, sources said. Embiid has to miss 25 or more regular-season games because of injuries in those areas, and play less than 1,650 minutes, for Philadelphia to have the option of releasing him for cost savings…

If Embiid meets that narrow criteria and the Sixers decided to waive him after the 2018-19 season, he would receive $84.2 million of his full contract; $98.2 million after the 2019-20 season; $113.3 million after the 2020-21 season and $129.4 million after the 2021-22 season.

Some details here. First, it has to be specific injuries that Embiid has battled before — if Embiid misses half a season due to a shoulder injury, for example, the Sixers cannot waive him. Second, it does not apply to this coming NBA season, his last on his rookie scale deal, or next season, the first of the extension. The Sixers can, and likely will, be cautious with Embiid this season and he may not play much more than 50 games, even if he is healthy. They have a couple of seasons to build him up.

Also, if Embiid plays 1,650 minutes in three consecutive seasons, the right to waive goes away.

In theory, Embiid could get a super-max deal of $176 million — the Derrick Rose rule — but he would need to be named NBA MVP or make First Team All-NBA this season to reach that. Those goals are highly unlikely.

This sounds like a good deal for both sides. Embiid gets a max contract — and gets to say he’s a max player, something that is a status symbol around the NBA. The Sixers get protections. However, they likely would not waive Embiid unless he suffered a catastrophic, career-ending kind of injury. He’s too good when he plays, too valuable, for Philly to give up on him. But if it gets there, the Sixers have options.

Rest: Frowned upon when NBA games count, not in preseason

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MIAMI (AP) — There is no NBA mandate urging teams to not rest players in the preseason.

Good thing.

The dog days of the exhibition schedule have arrived, with plenty of stars sitting out Monday night’s games. Among those getting the night off to rest: Boston stars Gordon Hayward, Kyrie Irving and Al Horford, Miami’s Goran Dragic and the Orlando trio of Elfrid Payton, Aaron Gordon and Bismack Biyombo. Indiana rested a half-dozen players, as did Sacramento – including Vince Carter, George Hill and Zach Randolph.

“It’s hard to play 14 guys,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said.

Houston’s Chris Paul didn’t play in New York because of a right shoulder contusion, the Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis (hip) and Frank Ntilikina (knee) sat out that same game with soreness, Detroit’s Avery Bradley was sidelined by a turned ankle and Orlando’s Evan Fournier (ankle) and Terrence Ross (hamstring) also didn’t play because of minor injuries. Sacramento’s De'Aaron Fox was out with a sore back.

When the regular season starts next week, resting players who are healthy enough to play will be officially frowned upon by a new NBA policy. But for now, it just makes sense for clubs to either limit minutes or not take unnecessary risks.

That being said, teams are still working. Joerger knows his team needs a day off – but the Kings are practicing Tuesday anyway.

“We have way too much stuff to do, and not just for opening night,” Joerger said.

In Dragic’s case, Miami is being smart since he played for two months this summer, helping Slovenia win the European championship and returning to Miami just two days before the first practice of training camp. He hasn’t played much in the preseason.

“This is all relatively part of the plan I had sketched out,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I wanted him to be in training camp … and he really wanted to be there too, just to establish the right tone out of camp. We want to try to strike that balance of keeping him in shape and making sure he’s peaking for the first game, not going the other way. I think we’re headed that way.”

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said the lineup he went with Monday allows him to take a good look at what will be Boston’s second unit.

“I feel really good about where we are, considering we’re 13 days in,” Stevens said. “I don’t think we’re by any means a finished product and I think we can get better.”

 

 

Derrick Rose was a one-man highlight show against Bulls

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Derrick Rose is the Cavaliers starting point guard and will be for roughly the first half of the season.

Whatever you think of that — Rose himself is convinced this is the first step on the way to him getting a Brinks truck of cash next summer — Rose can, for stretches, still can put on a show.

He was doing that Tuesday night in a preseason game, going against the Bulls “defense.” There was the fantastic move on the drive you can see above. Then there was this alley-oop to Jeff Green.

Report: Warriors “don’t fear” Russell Westbrook due to playing style

Associated Press
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It’s one of the most debated questions around the NBA heading into the season:

What team has the best shot at knocking off the Warriors?

Let’s be honest, “knocking off the Warriors” involves Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, or maybe Draymond Green rolling his ankle (or otherwise being injured) and missing a playoff series. But if that happens, what team has a shot? Cleveland has come closest in recent years and may top that list, and Houston has the tools to score with the Warriors (if they can get stops is another question).

There are some in the Thunder camp — they are a good defensive team that now have added Paul George and Carmelo Anthony to the Russell Westbrook show.

Except the Warriors “don’t fear” Westbrook, something ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on his The Lowe Post podcast, echoing what Jack McCallum said in his book “Golden Days.” The problem, as Lowe put it, is Westbrook’s “style of play is so easy to defend; it’s like cake to them.” (Hat tip Bleacher Report.)

First, do the Warriors fear anyone?

Second, what they say is true of Westbrook’s “me against the world” isolation style of last season, it was defendable by good defensive teams. While Westbrook’s raw numbers were good against the Warriors — 27.3 points, 10 rebounds, and 9.5 assists per game — he shot just 37.5 percent, he averaged 8 turnovers a game, and when he was on the floor the Thunder were outscored by 23.9 points per game.

This gets to the heart of the Thunder’s challenge this season — will Westbrook, George, and Anthony make the sacrifices necessary to win? Will Anthony willingly be a dangerous spot-up guy for stretches while Westbrook and George run pick-and-roll off each other? Can Westbrook forget the raw numbers, focus on getting his teammates involved, and be a true leader of an elite team? More importantly, can all these guys figure it out in one season and be a real threat by the playoffs? (Remember in Miami how it took LeBron’s big three basically a season and a half to put it all together? This squad may not have that much time as constructed.)

The Thunder are potentially the second best team in the NBA, but living up to that is another thing entirely.