Injured former No. 3 overall pick Joel Embiid is expected to sign with Leon Rose of the Creative Artists Agency, sources told Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, after parting ways with the Wasserman Media Group, as Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group and the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported (Twitter links). Wasserman agent Darren Matsubara had been the representative for the Sixers big man. Philadelphia picked up its team option for next season on Embiid’s rookie scale contract this past fall even though he didn’t play last season and is likely to miss all of this season, too, with a lingering right foot injury.
The earliest he can negotiate an extension would be the summer of 2017, and he isn’t due for restricted free agency until the summer of 2018, casting doubt on whether Embiid’s change in representation has to do with his playing contract. Philadelphia has another team option on the final year of his deal, worth slightly more than $6.1MM for the 2017/18 season, and a decision is due on that in the fall.
Sixers coach Brett Brown recently touted improvements to Embiid’s mental approach to his recovery, and he’s displaying greater maturity and seriousness than in the past, as TNT’s David Aldridge wrote in November. Questions arose in October after Brian Geltzeiler of SI.com’s The Cauldron blog reported that Embiid was paying little attention to his rehabilitation and physical condition and that the Sixers were frustrated about it.
It’s the latest defection in a tough stretch for Wasserman, which has lost LaMarcus Aldridge, Jabari Parker, Danilo Gallinari and Joe Johnson since power agent Arn Tellem left to take a job in the Pistons organization this past offseason. Embiid is another prominent name on Rose’s client list, which includes Carmelo Anthony, Karl-Anthony Towns and Jonas Valanciunas. Rose is also a co-agent for Kevin Durant.