When the Philadelphia 76ers selected Kansas center Joel Embiid — a remarkably skilled 7-footer who likely would have been the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft had he not suffered a stress fracture in his right foot that required surgery — with their No. 3 pick last Thursday, it seemed clear that Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie had once again elected to concede the upcoming season. One year after trading for injured Kentucky center Nerlens Noel and keeping him on ice for the whole season to rehabilitate the torn ACL in his left knee — despite Noel's assertion that he's been 100 percent for months — Hinkie again took a high-ceiling big man who might miss his entire first professional year, and also worked out a deal for Croatian forward Dario Saric, who won't suit up in the States for at least two years, effectively adding no up-front help to a Sixers squad that slinked to a "successful" 19-63 record last season.
By continuing to kick the can down the road and cast his eyes toward a very bright future, Hinkie seemed to be committing the 76ers to another year of dismal present. He didn't count on one thing, though: that his brand new top draft pick would take it upon himself to start recruiting free-agent talent in the here and now:
Yep, that's Embiid reaching out to LeBron James — who, as you might have heard, decided to hit the market this summer — to gauge his interest in perhaps bringing his talents back up north to The City of Brotherly Love. When the four-time NBA Most Valuable Player didn't respond — he must've been pretty busy waiting to hear how Pat Riley's going to reload the roster of the Miami Heat — the Cameroonian big man decided to take another crack, poking a bit of fun at his own draft-night foible in the process:
Don't take the "tape delay" personally, Joel — LeBron was apparently otherwise occupied on a family fishing trip.
For what it's worth, the 76ers have oodles of cap space available, with just under $40 million in guaranteed contracts, cap holds and as-yet-unsigned draft deals now on the books. It isn't worth much, though, because there's a better chance that Questlove suits up for Philadelphia next season than that LeBron does. Still, though, it's nice to see Joel reaching for the stars and willing to recruit ... not to mention getting his Twitter account in the news for something a little bit more positive this time around.
Hat-tip to For The Win.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Joel Embiid
- Nerlens Noel
- Sam Hinkie