The Sixers got good news this morning about Joel Embiid‘s left knee, but there’s more to the story than the MRI results, writes Derek Bodner of The Athletic. Embiid is projected to miss two to three weeks with a bone bruise after a scary fall in Friday’s game.
Bodner estimates that April 3 is probably the earliest realistic date for Embiid to return, which will affect Philadelphia’s hopes for the top seed in the East. That would mean a 10-game absence, with eight of those games against teams with records of .500 or better. Losing Embiid could affect not only the playoff seedings, but also the MVP race and president of basketball operations Daryl Morey’s desire to make a major trade by the March 25 deadline.
An extended absence could affect Embiid’s next contract as well, Bodner adds. If Embiid makes an All-NBA team this season or in 2021/22, he will be eligible for a Designated Veteran Extension, which means his salary could start at 35% of the salary cap, rather than 30%.
There’s more on the Sixers:
- Morey gained a reputation for being aggressive at the trade deadline in Houston, but he’s cautioning Sixers fans not to count on a major deal this year, according to Dan Gelston of The Associated Press. Morey likes the cohesiveness of his current players, who are off to a 26-12 start. “We have a great group, a great chemistry, they’re playing at a high level, they play even better against very good teams,” he said. “That’s something fragile and we need to respect it. Long story short, everyone expecting some big thing, I would ask them to be excited about who we have more than what’s possible.”
- The Sixers are “loaded with assets” as they approach the trade deadline, ESPN’s Bobby Marks says in an Instagram video. They have an $8.29MM trade exception and seven players with expiring contracts. Marks expects Philadelphia to be in the mix for Andre Drummond, LaMarcus Aldridge and Kyle Lowry.
- Tobias Harris feels like he has something to prove after being overlooked for the All-Star Game, writes Noah Levick of NBC Sports Philadelphia. Harris wasn’t selected as a reserve even though he averaged 20.2 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game in the first half of the season. “When me and (head coach Doc Rivers) talk about it, I just tell him, ‘Look, I’ve got a bounty out for all the coaches that didn’t vote for me, all the national media that skipped over me,’” Harris said. “It is what it is, but me and Doc discuss that you make your name known in the playoffs and leading this team, and being solid and what you do day in and day out. And that was my mentality.”