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Simmons: If Embiid Doesn’t Go No. 1, Agent Will “Push Hard” To Steer Him Toward Boston, LA


There are a ton of things to unpack here, so let’s break them down in bullet points after the break.— Joel Embiid is such an intriguing prospect, he was nearly a consensus number one pick despite having suffered a stress fracture in his back during the college basketball season. He is likely the only true potential franchise talent in this draft class if he reaches his ceiling — a 7’0 rim protector who can also play with his back to the basket and score from mid-range.

— Foot injuries are scary. Back injuries are scary. Foot AND back injuries are terrifying.

— That being said, reports were trickling in that evaluators were becoming less and less concerned that Embiid’s back would be a problem going forward. If these are just two freak, unrelated injuries, one has to wonder whether we might look back on them in five years the way we currently look back at the concerns about Kevin Durant’s subpar benchpress before he was drafted.

— Alternatively, we might look back on them the way we look back on Greg Oden’s red flags, and that’s what has talent evaluators biting their fingernails to the quick at the moment.

— Goodman later tweeted that his upcoming mock draft would now have Jabari Parker going No. 1 to the Cavaliers.

— Agents can “steer” their players toward certain destinations, but it’s much easier to do with international players like Dario Saric, who can threaten to stay in Europe if an undesirable team selects him. Embiid doesn’t have that kind of ammunition. Even if he fell out of the lottery, Orlando and Utah could take him and keep him for four years guaranteed, then sign him for three more. Players virtually never leave their first team before getting truly paid, and Arn Tellem is a top-level agent for a reason. If the Magic or Jazz take Embiid, Tellem is going to be aware that Embiid’s highest earning potential (by far) involves sticking with that squad for seven years. The Magic and Jazz know this too. If they want Embiid, they’ll take him.

— So do they want him? I would say almost certainly, especially Utah. Orlando might hesitate, depending on what role they see Nikola Vucevic playing over the next few years, but even though the Jazz have several young big men, they desperately need a franchise star. In their case, swinging for the fences makes a lot of sense.

— Simmons also reported that this would put a “damper” on Boston’s pursuit of Kevin Love, which is just insanity. I’m so tired of the rampant speculation flying around as well as the games both teams are playing in the media, but if Boston opted to keep an oft-injured big man with no NBA experience over a top-10 player, it would be a massive mistake, even if it worked out for the best.

— HOWEVER: If Embiid fell to the Celtics and the Wolves took the mediocre collection of assets Denver is allegedly offering, he is the best fit for this team AND the most talented player available. He would absolutely have to be their pick.

So to recap: The only way Embiid becomes a Celtic is if:

1) The Cavaliers were honestly scared off and have no intention of drafting Embiid.

2) The Bucks and Sixers don’t want to risk their hard-won lottery picks on an injury-prone big.

3) Orlando wants Vucevic to play center.

4) Utah drops the ball for some reason.

5) Minnesota doesn’t like Boston’s trade package.

6) Boston doesn’t mind taking the same risk that scared off Milwaukee and Philadelphia.

Essentially, Joel Embiid playing for the Celtics is still unlikely. But as far as long shots go, it’s less of a full-court heave and more of a contested, buzzer-beating 30-footer now.

Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.

  • spotter

    Embiid slides and Celtics trade #6 and #17 to Magic for #4. Magic, if they prefer a PG and do not want Embiid, that is a doable deal. Magic grab Smart at #6.

  • hax

    Couple of things.

    1) The Jazz had 2 franchise players(or well…all stars to build around). Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap. They let them go to build around Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors. Are they really going to dump a second quality center a second year in a row just for Oden Jr. ?

    2) Screw this ‘one or the other’ crap. Be greedy. Steal Embiid like we stole Pierce. Trade other picks to Minnesota for Love. Kapooshhhh.

    • CP37

      From what I’ve read they’re trading away as part of the package their 13th pick and taking back David Lee’s contract and restricted FA-to-be Klay Thompson. Aside from Thompson, how’s this deal really that much better than the C’s? Minny is getting no assets back, they give away their pick, they don’t dump salary like they want to and there’s no guarantee Thompson will stay and “win now” with them.

      • hax

        It makes no sense at all.
        K-Mart is a consistent SG, Klay is streaky(Jeff Green-esque inconsistency).
        Love is better than Lee.
        How is Min’s pick even getting considered when they are giving away more talent?!
        These reports are by Broussard I believe, so probably complete bs.

        • dasein

          I don’t know how brousaad still has a job in all honesty. My guess is he has dirt on espn higher ups. Whatever the reason, you can safely ignore any article with his name on it.

        • CP37

          Woj has said no deal is close and Jay King tweeted this little nugget : http://www.mercurynews.com/marcus-thompson/ci_25995999/thompson-are-warriors-willing-part-thompson-get-love

          • hax

            I like the Curry mention.
            If they trade 3 of his buddies for Love, and the guy walks away next summer to another team. While Kerr is sitting there drawing triangles on his clipboard.
            Bye bye Curry when his contract ends!

    • fastfox1306

      Trust me, as a jazz fan, Milsap and Jefferson are NOT franchise players…they were terrible together and the jazz want to be contenders not an 8th seed playoff team, which is why they let them walk. Now Kanter and Favors aren’t working together, which is why Embiid is intriguing…definitely a swing for the fences that is for sure. His injuries scare the crap out of me. I wanted him with potential back issues, but add in the foot issues, then I am taking pause. Draft night is going to be crazy that is for sure!

  • dasein

    I don’t think embiid falling to 6 is worth spending much hope on, but if it was to happen then taking him over love isn’t as ridiculous as this article implies.

    First, it gives embiid the oft injured tag…. Might want to go check loves game log before jumping up and down on that button.

    Second, if embiid is the second coming of hakem, you don’t pass on that. Period. If you want to argue that he isn’t that good, that’s one thing, but acknowledging that he’s this franchise altering guy and then choosing the veteran anyway is maybe not so smart. That would be like a higher stakes version of the Kawhai/ hill trade. Maybe it looks like the right thing in yr 1, but as time passes it looks increasingly dumb. Anyone thing Indy wouldn’t like a do over of that one?

  • CP37

    If there was ever a day that DA needed to throw 4 first Rounders at Minny during this entire saga, today would be it.

    • Rich Jensen

      Not necessarily: I doubt that Love wants to sign an extension with either a Klay Thompson-less Golden State (which is also short on draft picks), or a Faried-less Denver. Golden State can hammer out a deal with Minnesota, but when Love sees it, he’s not going to commit to re-upping with the Warriors next year.

      Thus, Minny isn’t in a position to leverage a better offer from Boston by using negotiations with Golden State.

      • CP37

        I guess I might have overreacted there a little bit. Its just that me and many other C’s fans would be disappointed not to land Love this summer, especially after his weekend visit, and I want DA to do almost anything to get it done, my personal ceiling is 4 1st rounders. How far do you think Love & Curry could make it in the West? And are we possibly overstating the strength and leverage that Love holds with his ability to decline to resign with certain teams?

        • Rich Jensen

          4 picks & Bass & salary match, or 3 picks either Sully OR Olynyk, Bass & salary match are the two directions I’d be willing to go.

          Love + Curry is a second round team at best, with little means to improve the team (no picks, no assets).

          I don’t know that we’re overstating Love’s leverage. If he tells a team he’s not interested in re-signing with them, I don’t think even Mitch Kupcak would be dumb enough to pull the trigger.

          • CP37

            How do you feel about taking back K-Mart’s contract as part of a salary dump? I think he could be really good for us off the bench and his contract isn’t terrible. Don’t you think we could have both him & Bradley as well?

          • Rich Jensen

            I’m very uncomfortable with that, because the C’s have a huge need at #5, and carrying K-Mart’s contract *and* Wallace’s really hamstrings the C’s when it comes to making a move to address a spot where they have no clear starter. I don’t think you can commit ~$14M to the 2 guard spot when you’ve also got ~$19M tied up in the #3 spot–I mean, that’s max contract money for non-max contract players.

          • CP37

            The point you make about the Center position is very astute. In their pursuit of Melo, we can help Houston shed cap by using the trade exception to absorb Asik’s contract. We can get Ask for almost nothing if all More wants to do is clear up money for Melo, but having the contracts of Martin & Wallace makes it harder to keep Ask after 2015. Phil and Bayless were real good for us this year, Pressey has some damn good insticts and vision and Bayless can really contribute and score the ball well.

  • Rich Jensen

    Bill “The Guggenheim Partners are going to release a bid Tuesday AM and will pay $2B for the Clippers” Simmons is not to be trusted on this.

  • skeeds

    1. Never, EVER trust a Broussard rumor.. I’d go as far as saying that the opposite of his opinion is probably right most of the times.

    2. If the draft has proven one thing, is DON’T draft the big guy, especially if his health is iffy. You trade for a big guy who’s proven himself. Big guys are such high risk that it’s never worth it. If it is, you know. Olajuwon. Duncan. Shaq. If I’m the Cavs I’m passing. that being said, Embiid is 100% worth the risk at #4 or perhaps #6 if he slides that far.

    3.Whatever the rumors are on the Love situation, let’s not forget that it’s not the Wolves who are deciding. They might prefer a trade with Denver but Love won’t be too thrilled to commit to that team (especially w/o Faried and/or Gallinari and light on picks). Whoever is looking at landing him long term needs to have a decent situation remaining after the trade. If Love has any specific preference, all the packages and talks could mean nothing at all. The Wolves are gonna take whatever they can out of it, not whatever they want. They don’t have the upper hand in this situation, as they didn’t in KG’s case, and as is the norm every time the same scenario arises, (Orlando-D12, Denver-Melo, etc).

  • hax

    So now reports don’t involve #13 to Golden State(Broussard fail). Minnesota wants a 1st rounder along with Thompson and Lee, and GS won’t give up a 1st rounder(yet).
    Thompson’s father said it’s ‘close to happening’
    Then says ‘I’ll have to talk him down off the ledge’ if the trade happens.

    Kind of doubt the Wolves want a guy who will be depressed to play for them and reportedly wants ‘max money’.

    “Everything you hear is planted and has an agenda behind it.” -Austin Ainge

    • CP37

      Not to mention if you want cap space, taking on Lee’s contract might not help with that endeavor.

  • hax

    Greedy offer!
    17th pick, 2015 Celtics, 76’ers, and Clippers 1st round picks. Sullinger, Green, Bogans. For Love.

    That’s a handful of picks, a young prospect, a starting caliber SF in his prime, and 5 million dollars that can be released.

    But the ‘best’ reported offer is Lee and Thompson.

    Even our greedy offer looks better. Especially if Sully loses weight and improves his jumpshot this Summer at age 22.

    • CP37

      I like that deal a lot, but aren’t the picks from Philly conditional on them making the playoffs and isn’t there a rule against trading picks with consecutive years? I’ve heard rumblings that Washington is into Jeff Green, shouldn’t we use him there since he’s not exactly high on Minny’s radar?

      • dasein

        Im all for getting rid of Green, but what is Washington going to give back? Wall and Beal are obviously not going anywhere, and they have nothing else I’d want.

        • CP37

          Maybe a sign-and-trade for Ariza or Gortat. How feasible is that?

          • hax

            Only one that makes sense is sign & trade for Ariza and a couple 2nd round picks or so.(2014 & 2015)

            Wizards will throw huge money at Gortat this Summer, especially after he helped them get to the final 8 this year.

          • dasein

            Both of them will probably be overpaid, in which case you’d be better off just keeping Green.

            In particular, I hate the idea of throwing money at Ariza after a contract/career year. Just don’t trust him.

      • hax

        Yes, it turns into 2 2nd rounders if the 76’ers miss the playoffs. MCW/Noel/3rd pick/10th pick/thaddeus young they might have a chance in the east! But screw the Wolves and their games. That is why it’s the greedy offer 😀

        I believe it’s trading your own pick consecutive years, so without adding our 6th pick it’s not a double-year thing :) Even if the rule was for any 1st rounder, we could draft for them at 17 and trade after.

  • dasein

    The foot injury thing really changes the picture now, and maybe in Boston’s favor.

    1. If Min loves Embiid, it could mean a Love deal gets done without having to give up as much (or take on extra money) because Embiid > 6 and 17 as understood a week ago. Maybe Embiid, Sully, and one future first?

    2. Also gives Bos a bit more leverage in Love negotiations..”You know what, maybe we’ll just keep Embiid. Sorry about Chicago getting Melo instead. Maybe GS will still give you their 2nd round exit core of overpaid dudes…”

    If he does slide, the Celtics really could just keep Embiid, although given the double injury this is a lot less appealing in comparison to getting Love then it was before the news broke.

    The big thing working in the Celtics favor is that Love is pretty unlikely to sign off on anyone picking before them, who could potentially offer the same type of deal. Orlando might be a wild card. What if they offered Min Embiid/Afflalo/future pick for Love? Would Love be good to roll with Vucevic, Oladipo, the 12th pick (Payton?) plus a move from the north pole to sunny Florida? Hmmm…I hope not.

  • hax

    “Source says Celtics offered 6, 17, Olynyk, and another future Celtics 1st rounder.”
    This obviously doesn’t work money-wise. So the source is even
    A) Complete bs.
    B) Missing out that a third team is in on the deal.
    Anyways, if I’m the Wolves, I’d jump on that deal so fast. Sure, maybe say ‘Danny, I’ll accept right now if you throw in the clippers pick’.
    KO shot 53% FG and averaged 25 ppg in the 3 games he started at the end of the season. This dude’s ceiling is massive(doesn’t mean he’ll reach it or ever come close, but it’s there).
    Dieng showed up late in the season as a beast at Center.
    This gives them the young, talented core of
    PG: Rubio
    SG: ?
    SF: ?
    PF: Olynyk
    C: Dieng
    With Martin, Pekovic, 6, 13, 17 to fill in the SG & SF spots. Could package them to move up into 2 great picks and have a nasty youthful starting line-up.
    And a really solid bench full of veterans on long, cheap deals like Budinger, Brewer, etc.