And-Ones: Embiid, NBA Cup, Taxpayers, Sochan, Rising Stars, More

Team USA head coach Steve Kerr, who texted Sixers center Joel Embiid this week to say hello and wish him well in his recovery from knee surgery, remains hopeful that the reigning MVP will be able to play in this summer’s Olympics, writes Dan Gelston of The Associated Press.

“Our fingers are crossed he’ll be healthy this summer and able to play,” Kerr said. “He’s an amazing player and we’re really excited to have him be part of the program.”

While the Sixers are hopeful that Embiid will be able to return before the end of the season and compete in the playoffs, it wouldn’t be surprising if the big man decided to forgo the Olympics and take the summer to rest and recuperate, given the nature of his injury. There’s still plenty of time to figure out his plan though, since the Paris games are still over five months away.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • The NBA’s in-season tournament will have a new name going forward, according to the league, which announced on Thursday in a press release that the event will be known as the NBA Cup and will be sponsored by the airline Emirates. NBA referees will also begin wearing Emirates patches on their uniforms later this month, per the announcement.
  • Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link) breaks down what the luxury tax figures for 2023/24 look like after the trade deadline, noting that nine of the 10 teams projected to be taxpayers a month ago either shed salary or stood pat. The Sixers and Pelicans ducked out of the tax, while the Suns were the only one of those 10 teams to increase their payroll. The 22 non-taxpayers currently project to receive $11.5MM apiece this offseason, Marks adds.
  • Spurs sophomore Jeremy Sochan has replaced injured Trail Blazers guard Shaedon Sharpe in next weekend’s Rising Stars game, the NBA announced in a press release. The league also shared (via Twitter) the results of the Rising Stars draft, with coaches Jalen Rose, Pau Gasol, and Tamika Catchings building seven-man rosters from a 21-player pool.
  • Nuggets center DeAndre Jordan would be open to the possibility of playing in Europe later in his career, he said during an interview with Toni Canyameras from Mundo Deportivo (hat tip to BasketNews). Jordan specifically named Barcelona as a team that would pique his interest, since he loves Spain.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic shares some observations on the trade deadline, noting that many of the would-be buyers didn’t have the assets necessary to take a big swing this week.
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