[This post is predicated on the possibility that Joel Embiid leaves for the NBA after his freshman year. I personally don’t believe he will go. Embiid has said himself that he doesn’t believe he is ready to leave school yet for many reasons;one of them being that he doesn’t even know how to drive yet. Taking into account how taxing an 82 game season (plus travel) can be on a player, it is hard to see an already “beat up” Embiid making the jump.But for the sake of this column to work, let’s pretend he is leaving.There are three categories: “Absolutely opting out of my rookie deal”, “this ain’t so bad but I’m gonna have to explore my options”, and “let’s talk about an extension already”]
“Absolutely opting out of my rookie deal”
Let’s just say there is a reason the act of giving someone a “steamer” is forever linked with the city of Cleveland. Were the Native Americans wrong when they dubbed Cleveland the “mistake by the lake?” Is it an accident that all the franchises are snakebitten? There are just some places should never be inhabited by people. I believe Cleveland is one of them. Lebron didn’t waste any time high tailing it out of there, and you will see the same thing when its time for Kyrie Irving to hit free agency. Its a hard place to run a professional franchise because no one would choose to move there unless they were paid gobs of money–and sometimes that isn’t enough. It is kind of a catch-22 for the city because I don’t believe the chances are high for a successful professional franchise, however; it would be even more of a depressing place to live if there weren’t any sports teams there. Just dissolve the city already and find better places to live why don’t you? Then again…..the city just gave us Bone Thugs N Harmony and this moment.
One day they may have a good team again. Gordon Heyward may leave or get traded this year. Trey Burke is an interesting player, and Joel and Burke could be an interesting tandem. But its Utah and he’s African. I know they love their basketball in Utah, but I’ll pay you 20 dollars for every black player outside of Karl Malone who enjoyed living in Salt Lake City. It’s not Cleveland but its not much better either.
Even white dudes don’t like playing in Minnesota. Kevin Love wants sunshine, and an organization that has some sort of plan. That ain’t Minnesota.
Ask Kareem how much he enjoyed living there.
Washington (Chocolate City)
Socially this could be interesting for Embiid. Unfortunately the Wizards have been a mess since Gilbert Arenas decided to reenact the “Guns of Navarone” with Jarvis Crittendon.
Detroit No way this happens, because Joe Dumars would probably get fired faster than you can say “Matt Millen.” They have too many big men on the roster already (I’m doing my best to not shoehorn a Big Lebowski/Karl Hungus “log jamming” joke in here–let’s just move on).
“We’ll have to explore our options at the end of my contract”
I could see Michael Jordan wanting to create a twin towers with Al Jefferson and Joel Embiid. Throw in Kemba Walker and you have interesting nucleus. The problem is that you never know what the Bob–err Hornets will look like from year to year. They have been the epitome of an unstable franchise since they got a team again. It could work but I doubt it.
Another franchise without a long term vision. They are in constant transition–a a revolving door of GM’s and head coaches. Denver could be fun for Joel. I hear there are a lot of Jayhawk fans there. Someone could introduce him to that medical if he is vulnerable to migraines (to push the Kareem-Embiid corollary even further).
Pelicans……… this could be interesting if Anthony Davis and Embiid had a point guard. The jury is still out on this franchise. Who knows– they could be in Seattle in 3-4 years.
They already have the building blocks with Oladipo, Jameer Nelson (however long he stays) and Arron Afflalo. Embiid would be a nasty addition. In the weak East, a team like this would be a couple of moves away from making the playoffs. Plus no state tax in Florida; which would mean more money in Joel’s pocket. He could be the third high impact big man to start his career in Orlando only to leave for Los Angeles as soon as his rookie deal was expired.
New Life or stale breath? The jury is still out on Sac-town. Boogie Cousins should have been an All-Star. Ben McLemore has yet to assert himself as an integral player. Derrick Williams and Rudy Gay have contributed at times. The Kings would be a really fun team on NBA 2K14. The problem is that most video game rosters are terrible to watch in real life. A competitor like Cousins could bring out the Embiidst mode in Embiid. I read a great article a few weeks ago by Jonathan Abrams about Cousins that confirmed a lot about what I already suspected. Cousins seems a lot like Rasheed in terms of talented but misunderstood “head cases”. This could be an interesting mix–especially with Shaquille helping out in the front office. He could pull Embiid’s coat tails and hip him to a thing or two about being an NBA big man.
“Let’s just sign an extension already”
What bad back? Phoenix has the best medical staff in the NBA, just ask Steve Nash and Grant Hill. Embiid, the Morris Twins, Jeff Hornacek, Eric Bledsoe and Dragic makes this an intriguing destination/outcome. Instant league Pass favorite. Am I right?
Los Angeles Lakers
It’s Los Angeles and he’d have to either learn how to drive or hire someone to get him around town. L.A. loves their big men and he’d usher a brand new era in Lakers’ folklore. Throw in the rumors of Westbrook and Kevin Love reuniting as Lakers, and suddenly the buzz is back in Tinsel town.
Quality general manager in Danny Ainge, and a promising young head coach. If Boston keeps Rondo, and gets another couple pieces via the draft, then suddenly the ceiling in Beantown gets raised faster. A green and white number #21 Boston Celts jersey would be pretty ill. Plus I hear Boston is nowhere near as racist as it used to be.
So there you have it. Boston and Los Angeles could very well end up with Embiid. I can hear the conspiracy theories already. But would that necessarily be bad for the league? For selfish reasons of course, I’d like to see him stay one more year to develop. We’ll see what happens. As of today, he is sitting out against TCU for rest, and the Bucks say they would take him at #1 if they got the lucky ping pong ball. Maybe we should pump the brakes on our “Low Seed for Embiid” chants.