Sixers CEO expects to get an answer on Joel Embiid ‘in a couple of weeks’


When the Sixers selected Joel Embiid with the third overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, it marked the second straight year that the team grabbed a player it knew would sit out his entire rookie season due to injury.

Philadelphia’s strategy worked out just fine with Nerlens Noel, who looked great last season after missing all of 2013. And, the fact that he was unavailable helped the Sixers bottom out to the point where they were able to land Embiid in the first place.

But drafting injured players is fairly risky business. The Sixers are seeing that now with Embiid, who suffered a setback with his foot injury that may force him to miss a second straight season.

The team is hoping to get confirmation one way or another in the next couple of weeks.

From Keith Pompey of

“We’re still waiting,” [Sixers CEO Scott O’Neil] said. “We have another three doctors to come see him. The nice thing about jobs like these – you can literally get the best experts in the world. All you have to do is call and they love to see us.”

He added that the franchise could get an answer about the 7-foot center’s future in “a couple of weeks.” …

“We’re trying to figure out with a 21-year-old how do you focus wholly on long-term health and wellness and make sure he’s OK,” O’Neil said. “So what we’re doing now is seeing experts, the best experts from around the world, to make sure we make the right decisions with him and his family and do the best.”

It’ll be interesting to see whether or not Embiid’s updated status has any effect on the team’s plans in the June 25 NBA Draft. The Sixers have the third overall pick, and for weeks it was believed that D’Angelo Russell would be their choice, assuming Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor go one and two as expected.

But the 7’1″ Kristaps Porzingis has recently been slotted in as a realistic selection for Philadelphia, which makes you wonder if Embiid’s situation is internally feared to be a worst-case scenario.

Report: Sixers ‘leaning toward’ selecting Kristaps Porzingis with No. 3 pick in NBA Draft


International prospect Kristaps Porzingis has been rising up league draft boards, partially on the strength of a recent stateside workout where plenty of scouts and executives were in attendance.

Porzingis has been labeled as a “serious threat” to go in the draft’s top three, despite Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor and D’Angelo Russell being seemingly locked into those spots (in some order) for the past several weeks. The Lakers were reportedly considering it, and at least one scout believes Porzingis will be the best player to come out of this draft class.

If L.A. passes (as is somewhat expected), then things get interesting at No. 3 with the Sixers. And the latest report has Philadelphia leaning toward going with Porzingis.

From Chad Ford of

We’ve been hearing both Mudiay and Russell’s name here for months. But over the past few weeks multiple sources around the league suspect that Sam Hinkie may actually be leaning toward Porzingis. He’s an odd fit given the Sixers abundance of big men (though news that Joel Embiid’s foot hasn’t healed may change the fit analysis). But Hinkie has always drafted based on the best player available strategy. He doesn’t draft for need. So while the team needs Mudiay or Russell more, if he believes Porzingis is the best player on the board, so be it. Or, as one rival GM opined, this Porzingis intel is all a smoke screen to get Orlando (who loves Porzingis) to trade up to three and give Hinkie another coveted asset.

It’s been widely reported that Orlando won’t let Porzingis slip past five, so the Sixers putting this information out there as an enticement for the Magic to come calling with trade offers makes plenty of sense.

It really comes down to Philadelphia’s talent evaluation process. If the team truly believes Porzingis is the best available, it may shun its need at the point guard position to go in this direction. But what’s clear is that with just six days left until the draft, the rumors (and potentially, the misinformation) will increase exponentially until June 25 is upon us.

Report: D’Angelo Russell ‘killed it’ in workout for Sixers


The Sixers hold the third overall pick in the June 25 NBA Draft, and with most projecting Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor to go (in some order) with the first two picks, just about every mock draft you can find has D’Angelo Russell penciled in at No. 3.

Russell cancelled a recent workout with Philadelphia, and though the reported reason was illness, it caused some to speculate whether or not he may know something in terms of possibly being selected with one of those first two picks.

As it turned out, that wasn’t the case. Russell rescheduled his workout, and reportedly was very impressed with himself once the meeting in Philadelphia was finished.

From Keith Pompey of

Russell arrived on Tuesday afternoon and had dinner with general manager Sam Hinkie. Then he spent Wednesday at the Sixers’ practice facility at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. The point guard worked out for the team and had a lengthy meeting with coach Brett Brown. …

“He said he killed it,” the source said of the workout. “He was talking about how excited he was about Philly.” …

Russell’s workout came one day after the Sixers worked out point guard Emmanuel Mudiay. Although the team was impressed with Mudiay, the Sixers would love to draft Russell if he’s still available at pick No. 3.

The Sixers are loaded with bigs, although a recent setback with Joel Embiid could make going with someone like Kristaps Porzingis a reasonable option.

But after bailing on a reigning Rookie of the Year in Michael Carter-Williams at the trade deadline, the Sixers do need to find their point guard of the future. By most accounts, and following a stellar pre-draft workout, Russell could very well be their guy.

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.

Report: Joel Embiid won’t need surgery


76ers center Joel Embiid suffered a setback with his foot injury.

Dei Lynam of CSN Philly on Saturday:

an NBA source told me surgery is still being discussed. If Embiid requires another surgery, the 7-foot-1 center will probably be sidelined for a second straight season.

Jeff Skversky of WPVI-TV Philadelphia on Sunday:

It’s unclear whether Lynam and Skversky are getting conflicting information or whether surgery seemed possible Saturday but was ruled out a day later.

Hopefully, Embiid won’t need surgery. He already missed all of last season. To miss another season would be devastating.

Either way, expect the 76ers to proceed with caution.