Joel Embiid

And-Ones: Embiid, Reynolds, O’Quinn

Olympic rosters don’t have to be submitted until next summer but Team France is hoping that the reigning Most Valuable Player will make a decision as early as next month.

Joel Embiid can choose to play for the USA, France or Cameroon. French federation president Jean-Pierre Siutat told a radio station in his home country (hat tip to that they’d like to get an answer from Embiid by Oct. 10.

“It will happen very quickly in all cases,” Siutat said. “We hope so and I think he knows it. We may have an answer by October 10. We have set this deadline.”

The Sixers center didn’t participate in the recent FIBA World Cup and has yet to represent any country in international play, which is why he still has the option of representing any three of the nations where he has citizenship. France and the U.S. have already qualified for the Olympics, while Cameroon will compete in a qualifying tournament next summer to try to earn a spot.

We have more international basketball news:

  • Former NBA forward Cameron Reynolds is close to signing with Greece’s Promitheas Patras, Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews reports.  Reynolds appeared in a combined 24 NBA games with Minnesota, San Antonio and Houston, most recently during the 2020/21 season. He has also played in Italy and Montenegro.
  • Former NBA center Kyle O’Quinn is signing with the Sichuan Blue Whales in China, according to Sportando. O’Quinn played in Japan last season. O’Quinn has played for Orlando, New York, Indiana and Philadelphia. His 2019/20 stint with the Sixers, in which he played 29 regular season games, was his last appearance in the NBA. He averaged 5.4 points and 4.6 rebounds in 472 career regular season contests.
  • We took a deep dive into projected minimum salaries for the 2024/25 season. Get the info here.

Atlantic Notes: Nets, Giannis, Hart, Harden

For the first time in years, the Nets will report to training camp without a superstar on their roster, but they have plenty of assets ready for when the next one becomes available, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Brooklyn is in a transition phase after shipping out Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in separate deals last February. Those trades gave the team a foundation built around Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson, along with a parcel of draft assets that can match any team in the league.

The Nets have seven tradable first-round picks through 2030, along with four others that could be involved in swaps. They own unprotected firsts from the Suns in 2027 and 2029 and one from the Mavericks in 2029. Lewis points out that those picks could greatly increase in value as the core in Phoenix becomes older and especially if Irving and Luka Doncic eventually decide to leave Dallas.

Lewis doesn’t expect Brooklyn to use any of its assets to chase players who are currently on the market such as Damian Lillard, Tyler Herro or James Harden. The front office wants to be fully stocked in case a major star such as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, Donovan Mitchell or Doncic eventually becomes available.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Knicks risk missing out on other opportunities if they decide to wait for the possibility of an Antetokounmpo trade, Ian Begley of states in a mailbag column. He points to Raptors forward OG Anunoby as an example of a useful talent who might be available through trade, but New York can’t make a bid for him if the front office is determined to preserve its assets for a run at Antetokounmpo. Begley also notes that Antetokounmpo could ultimately decide to stay in Milwaukee or force his way to another team.
  • The Knicks appear to have Josh Hart penciled in as their backup power forward, Begley adds. New York hasn’t signed anyone to replace Obi Toppin after trading him to Indiana, and using Hart in that role could open up playing time for free agent addition Ryan Arcidiacono.
  • The attention being focused on a potential Lillard deal is holding up any progress the Sixers could be making on a Harden trade, Derek Bodner states on the latest PHLY Sports podcast. Philadelphia talked to the Trail Blazers about a Lillard deal this summer, Kyle Neubeck adds, but he cautions that doesn’t mean the teams were ever close to a deal.

Trade Rumors: Future Trade Candidates, Hield, Ayton, Brogdon

As teams besides the Heat consider how aggressively to pursue Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, one factor they’re weighing is whether it makes more sense to preserve their assets in the hopes of landing an even more valuable star in the near future, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said this week during an appearance on NBA Today (YouTube link).

“There could be some massive talents available for trades next season. Maybe at the trade deadline, maybe next year,” Wojnarowski said. “So you have teams weighing the assets they might use to trade for Damian Lillard vs. who could be available to them that they don’t want to be out of the game for. Some younger, first team All-NBA type players who may be in that marketplace.”

While Wojnarowski didn’t name any specific players, his ESPN colleague Zach Lowe followed up on Woj’s point by directly mentioning Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and obliquely referencing Sixers center Joel Embiid as well.

“Look, not to put it too baldly, but Giannis’ recent comments have changed the landscape of the league, at least a little bit, and have had teams at least have the meeting of, ‘Wait a second, do we need to keep our powder dry if we think we have a one percent, two percent, five percent (chance to acquire him)?'” Lowe said.

“And by the way, the Bucks may not have to trade Giannis at all. They may win the title this year, everything’s fine, he signs an extension. But those comments, along with everything going on in Philly, have at least forced you to have the meeting of, ‘Do we need to keep our powder dry?'”

Here are a few more trade-related notes and rumors:

  • The Mavericks, Sixers, Bucks are among the teams to watch as the Pacers seek a trade partner for sharpshooter Buddy Hield, Shams Charania of The Athletic said in an appearance on The Rally (Twitter video link). “Those are the types of teams that could definitely use a shooter like Buddy Hield,” Charania said. “And I think they’ve had a level of interest in him over the last several months.”
  • With Deandre Ayton‘s name once again popping up in trade rumors, Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports cites a source who says the Mavericks made an “underwhelming” offer for the Suns center over the summer. Bourguet adds that Phoenix fielded inquiries on Ayton on draft night in June, but the offers at that time weren’t compelling, with one source even describing them as “trash.”
  • While Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe acknowledges that the Malcolm Brogdon situation in Boston “feels slightly off,” he hasn’t gotten any recent indications that the Celtics are considering trading Brogdon any more than they’re considering moving any other player.

Sixers’ Nick Nurse Talks Harris, Reed, Embiid, More

Newly hired Sixers head coach Nick Nurse has been dealt a fairly difficult hand this summer. Star point guard James Harden is angling to be traded away before having played a single game under Nurse.

But Nurse still has a team to coach. To that end, he recently sat down with Ky Carlin of Sixers Wire for a comprehensive conversation about the club.

Here are a few standout moments from the chat, which is well worth reading in full.

On how he’ll integrate power forward Tobias Harris into his system: 

“There’s so much more he could possibly do and I kind of want him to settle in and play this role that he’s capable of playing that he’s got experience playing, but I do kind of want him to dream outside that role or expand outside that role eventually.

“I do keep a pretty loose lid on the roles if that makes any sense because I think there [are] guys — there’s some guys maybe they never shot three-pointers before and they’re not bad and we may need them to shoot more threes or, or whatever it is. [Reserve center] Paul Reed would be a good example for us for that. When we got James and Joel [Embiid] out there, there’s gonna be some open threes. So let’s start to open up their minds a little bit and let’s get working on it, and let’s see what happens. Things like that.”

On improving Reed’s shooting mechanics:

“Yeah, I mean, listen, about day two after I had the job, we went in the gym with Paul Reed and we just tried to start making a couple mechanical adjustments on his shooting form to see if he couldn’t shoot it a little better. It’s really been going good. I think he’s gonna have a good, good season.”

On how he will handle Embiid with regards to the league’s new resting policy:

“I think that we are looking at it maybe a little different than people think we might be. We’re trying to get him to play more games. Our goal is that it’s going up for him, not not the other direction, and some people would say, ‘Oh, that’s playoffs. Is he going to be?’ We’re just trying to get it going the other direction. I think that’s just what our people believe here that he can play and again, knock on wood, cross our fingers, all that stuff. There’s always things that can come up with that stuff, but I don’t know. I believe in the guys playing as much as they can and let’s see what happens.”

And-Ones: Team USA, Prospects, Load Management, Porter

It was reported earlier this week that LeBron James was recruiting stars for the 2024 Olympics, with several players planning on joining the NBA’s all-time leading scorer in Paris.

Kevin Pelton of ESPN (Insider link) recently crafted a 12-man roster for Team USA next summer by following three criteria: An ideal team, not necessarily the best individuals; prior success with USA Basketball; and young players who can continue with the national team in the future.

Pelton’s starting five features Stephen Curry, Devin Booker, James, Kevin Durant and Joel Embiid, with Tyrese Haliburton, Anthony Edwards, Mikal Bridges, Jayson Tatum, Anthony Davis, Bam Adebayo and Evan Mobley coming off the bench. Donovan Mitchell was “perhaps the single toughest cut” from Pelton’s ideal roster.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • John Hollinger of The Athletic attended the G League Fall Invitational between G League Ignite and the Perth Wildcats to scout prospects for the 2024 NBA draft and beyond. While next year’s class isn’t considered particularly strong, Hollinger writes that several players stood out at the event, including Ron Holland, Alexandre Sarr and Izan Almansa. Ignite forward Tyler Smith was another standout who may have moved up draft boards, according to Hollinger, who notes that Perth guard Ben Henshall will be closely monitored going forward as well, perhaps for 2025 or 2026.
  • NBA commissioner Adam Silver has a difficult balancing act when it comes to star players resting, with fans, revenue, and player health among the key factors to consider. But the new player participation policy is a step in the right direction, contends Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. Having more stars on the court should make for a more compelling regular season, and Silver said at his press conference he had been weighing the advice of retired players, Goodwill notes. “You know, a lot of older players — by that I mean now, at this point, retired players — when I first came in the league, used to believe that they were more likely to get injured if they took nights off, that they would get out of rhythm,” he said. “In some cases, maybe (they) played fewer minutes, but they played. That’s something we want to look at as well.”
  • Kevin Porter Jr. was arrested this week on felony charges of assault and strangulation, but he’s far from the first NBA player to be accused of domestic violence. If the horrific allegations are proven true, Porter’s career in the league could be over, considering his history of off-court incidents. Chris Herring of Sports Illustrated believes the NBA should have a zero-tolerance policy for violence against women, though he concedes it would be a challenging rule to implement and would likely take several years. According to Herring, since salaries are rising across the board, players should be held to “extremely high behavioral standards.”

Atlantic Notes: Quickley, Sixers, Maxey, Tatum

The Knicks have touched base with Immanuel Quickley‘s representatives, but there have been no serious discussions on a rookie scale extension, according to Sean Deveney of

While talks are expected to heat up in October, there’s some pessimism regarding an extension agreement, Deveney says. Without an extension, Quickley will be a restricted free agent next summer.

Quickley averaged 14.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists and finished second for the Sixth Man of the Year award last season, but as Deveney points out, the Knicks have an abundance of guards.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Nick Nurse was one of the pioneers of load management during the Raptors’ championship season, when he limited Kawhi Leonard‘s playing time to keep him fresh for the postseason. With the NBA imposing new penalties for load management, Nurse will have to carefully navigate how much he tries to rest MVP Joel Embiid, as well as James Harden if Harden remains on the Sixers, Gina Mizell of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Embiid has publicly acknowledged that proving his durability has been a personal goal, Mizell notes.
  • Tyrese Maxey has already dramatically improved his shooting during his short NBA career. If he can do the same as a play-maker, then the Sixers can search for a third wheel to join him and Embiid, rather than finding another guard to run the show. That could make next year’s free agent class much more enticing, since the Sixers are positioned to have more cap space than any other team, Derek Bodner of writes.
  • Could Jayson Tatum eventually carve out a space on the Celtics’ Mount Rushmore, as he openly expressed a desire to accomplish? Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston explores that topic, opining that Bill Russell, Larry Bird and John Havlicek would occupy the first three spots. Forsberg writes that delivering titles, and staying in Boston long-term, would boost Tatum’s candidacy.

World Cup/Team USA Notes: Paul, Embiid, SGA, Canada, Bertans

Add Chris Paul to the list of stars who might join Team USA for the 2024 Olympics. The Warriors point guard is considering another Olympic appearance, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. Paul won gold medals during the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

Joel Embiid would be an even bigger catch for Team USA, which lost three times in the World Cup in large part due to its lack of interior size. However, the Sixers’ big man, who holds both United States and French citizenship, remains noncommittal.

As reported earlier in the day, LeBron James is trying to round up a number of All-Stars for the Olympics.

We have more World Cup-related info:

  • Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who led Canada to a bronze medal, believes the World Cup experience will have a positive impact on the upcoming NBA season, according to George Efkarpides of “I think this whole tournament will help me be ready for the next season,” he said. “I’ll be in shape, I’ve played basketball, so it won’t be as much of an adjustment next season.”
  • Team Canada’s coach, Jordi Fernandez, hopes the roster assembled for the World Cup returns for the Olympics, Aris Barkas of writes. We have a great program and we will decide about the Olympic roster when this time comes. But they made this happen, those guys have the number one ticket. We will hold on to those guys,” Fernandez said.
  • Latvia had a strong run in the World Cup and Thunder forward Davis Bertans hopes it becomes a turning point for his country’s basketball program, he told Cesare Milanti of “Hopefully, that inspires the kids back home,” he said. “There are a lot bunch of videos back home where instead of studying the kids were watching our games. Probably a better lesson than the one they could learn in school. It’s an unbelievable feeling.”

And-Ones: Ignite, 2024 Draft, Unsuccessful Pairings, Eddy Curry

The G League Ignite’s impressive collection of talent was on display Wednesday night in Nevada, writes John Hollinger of The Athletic. Six players who may be selected in next year’s draft were on the court for the Ignite, and a seventh, Thierry Darlan of France, missed the game against Perth, Australia, with an ankle injury.

The biggest attraction was guard Ron Holland, whom Hollinger considers the “betting favorite” to be the top pick in 2024. Hollinger adds that Holland isn’t a clear-cut No. 1 choice like Victor Wembanyama was this year, but he looked good in his first pro game, using a mix of explosiveness and ferocity to put up 23 points.

“Ron is very, very competitive” Ignite coach Jason Hart said. “So now I’m wanting to channel it to where the opposition doesn’t know if you’re mad or you’re happy. I just told him to relax, calm down … I think he heard me. But that’s going to be a process because he’s so competitive, and I don’t want to take that from him. That’s his thing; he’s just has to learn how to use it.”

Matas Buzelis and Izan Almansa, who are projected to be top-10 picks, also showed off their skills, Hollinger adds, along with Tyler Smith, London Johnson and Perth prospects Alex Sarr and Ben Henshall. The teams will meet again on Friday.

There’s more from around the basketball world:

Sixers Notes: Harden, Harris, Petrusev, Green, More

Despite another second-round playoff exit, which has been followed by another drama-filled offseason, Sixers owner Josh Harris believes Philadelphia is in an enviable position, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

The situation with James Harden is unfortunate,” Harris told ESPN. “I want this to work out for all sides, including James. But we have to keep our eye on the big picture, which is that we’re still a contending team and most teams in the NBA would change places with us in five minutes.”

Here’s more on the 76ers:

  • Harden took to Instagram in response to Shelburne’s report that he was “pouting” earlier this year over a perceived All-Star snub. The former league MVP’s message was simple: “Lies,” he wrote.
  • Sixers big man Filip Petrusev had an impressive performance for Serbia in the team’s World Cup quarterfinal victory over Lithuania, notching 17 points (on 7-of-8 shooting) and six rebounds in just 17 minutes of action. However, the 2021 second-round pick says his right ankle still isn’t 100%, per Cesare Milanti of Eurohoops. “I had the injury in the first game. So, I am not where I am supposed to be physically,” said Petrusev, who missed two games in the first round of group play. “I was just glad I could help (Nikola) Milutinov. He had so much work on defense guarding (Jonas) Valanciunas. He did a great job. That was the opportunity for me to step in, especially in the offense, and contribute.”
  • The uncertainty surrounding Harden’s situation has created question marks up and down the roster, Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes (subscriber link). How new head coach Nick Nurse will construct the offense, Tyrese Maxey‘s role, and how Joel Embiid might adjust without Harden are among the most pressing questions posed by Mizell.
  • In an opinion piece for The Philadelphia Inquirer, David Murphy shares some thoughts on the reported addition of Danny Green, and how the lead guard spot might be handled sans Harden.

Latest On James Harden

Entering the 2023 offseason, Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey viewed re-signing James Harden as the team’s top priority, Ramona Shelburne of writes in an in-depth look at the Harden saga. In fact, sources tell Shelburne that the “unofficial” reason the team moved on from head coach Doc Rivers was an awareness that Harden didn’t want to play for him again.

If Harden had declined his $35.6MM player option and become a free agent, he would’ve been eligible for contract worth up to $213MM over four years. According to Shelburne, the veteran was hoping for – and expecting – an offer in that range. However, since the Rockets‘ interest in Harden waned following their hiring of Ime Udoka, the former MVP didn’t have the leverage to extract that sort of offer from Philadelphia.

Unsure what sort of offer might be awaiting him when free agency opened, Harden attempted to touch base with Morey to determine the club’s position, but the 76ers – who were forced to forfeit two future second-round picks due to free agency gun jumping a year ago – weren’t willing to negotiate early.

“James felt like Daryl was ghosting him,” a source close to Harden told ESPN. “He felt betrayed.”

Harden and his representatives ultimately decided to take the guaranteed money by picking up his player option rather than being forced into a position where they’d have to accept whatever offer the Sixers made in free agency. The club was “stunned” by the decision, per Shelburne, who said the front office subsequently attempted to convey that it had only been “distant” with Harden leading up to free agency because of last year’s penalties. However, that did little to mend the relationship.

“James takes things very personally,” a second source close to Harden said to Shelburne. “When he feels like he’s been wronged, he can be very stubborn.”

Here are a few more highlights from Shelburne’s story, which is worth checking out in full:

  • Morey assured Harden’s camp that he would make a good faith effort to trade the 34-year-old and had initial talks with the Clippers and Knicks, league sources tell ESPN. However, when it became clear that no potential trade partners were willing to give up the sort of assets Philadelphia was seeking, the team informed Harden that it planned to hang onto him, a decision he didn’t take well.
  • Harden and Rivers had multiple “flare-ups” throughout the 2022/23 season, as Shelburne details. One such incident occurred in late February, following a pair of home losses to the Celtics and Heat. The Sixers were scheduled to play in Miami two days after falling at home to the Heat, and Harden opted to travel separately from the team to take advantage of the nightlife, which didn’t sit well with Rivers and some of his teammates. Rivers brought up the incident a few days later during a team meeting, specifically mentioning some of the players who were unhappy, which made for an “uncomfortable” situation, Shelburne explains.
  • Harden, whose numbers dipped a little as he accepted a secondary role in Philadelphia, was upset that he wasn’t initially named an All-Star in 2023, says Shelburne. While commissioner Adam Silver was still prepared to name Harden as an injury replacement for Kevin Durant, he wanted assurances that the star guard would show up and play. “Days went by” without an answer from Harden, who was “pouting,” according to Shelburne. Pascal Siakam was eventually chosen as Durant’s replacement instead.
  • Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey have each expressed to the Sixers that they’re OK waiting out the Harden saga, at least for the time being, sources tell ESPN. Both players are still on good terms with their teammate — Embiid invited Harden to his wedding in July, according to Shelburne.