Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Johnson, Williams, Knicks

Despite today’s dire news about Joel Embiid, the Sixers will probably pick up his third-year option, tweets Chris Mannix of Philadelphia has to make the decision by the end of October, and Mannix believes the team has too much invested to bail out now. The fourth year option isn’t as certain, Mannix cautions. Embiid will have bone-graft surgery on his foot and is expected to miss the 2015/16 season.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Amir Johnson didn’t expect a call from the Celtics when free agency began, but when it came he couldn’t refuse the offer, writes A. Sherrod Blakely of GM Danny Ainge made an early overture to Johnson, who agreed to a two-year, $24MM contract with the second year non-guaranteed. “They knew the kind of player I am and they had a lot of respect for my game,” the 28-year-old said. “For me, it was a no-brainer. I was going to become a Boston Celtic.”
  • Nets GM Billy King and coach Lionel Hollins deny that a lingering rift led to the decision to waive Deron Williams, according to Kevin Arnovitz of “You do not coach in the NBA and have confrontation,” Hollins said. “… And so ‘clash’ is a wrong word, and if people think Deron Williams was let go because something happened between us, then I should have let Zach Randolph go, I should have let Tony Allen go, I should have let Marc Gasol go, I should have let Rudy Gay go.”
  • Knicks president Phil Jackson believes the team will improve enough this season to get the attention of top-tier free agents next summer, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Next year’s free agent class will include be headlined by Kevin Durant and Mike Conley. “I think he had to build a competitive roster that could draw players the next time free agency comes around,’’ said an unidentified general manager. “And he has pieces to make a trade in midseason.’’
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