A native of Cameroon, Sixers star Joel Embiid also has U.S. and French citizenship, meaning his choice of which country to represent in international play will have a major impact on what the field looks like at the 2024 Olympics. Teaming up with Rudy Gobert and Victor Wembanyama would give France the world’s best frontcourt and make Les Bleus a legitimate gold medal threat.
Speaking to Joe Vardon of The Athletic, Gobert was asked about the possibility of Embiid joining the French national team and said he’d welcome the addition of the MVP runner-up. However, Gobert’s answer wasn’t unequivocal, and he said he doesn’t plan to personally recruit Embiid.
“For me the most important thing is if his heart tells him to be a part of Team France,” Gobert told Vardon. “I want him to do it for the right reasons. As long as he understands that the French national team is different than the NBA. We have rules, we have things that we do. Sometimes we all have lunch and dinner together — it’s not everybody doing their own thing. These are two different teams.
“But I think the main thing for us, for him and for me is that I want to make sure that he does it from his heart. And if he does that, I think he would be an amazing addition for our team. … It has to come from him. You are either all in, or you’re not. You can’t just show up.”
Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:
- The latest 2023 mock draft from ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Insider link) moves Alabama’s Brandon Miller up to No. 7 and Arkansas’ Anthony Black up to No. 11. Reece Beekman has also moved into the first round, with Givony observing that the Virgina guard’s defensive ability gives him a “very high floor.”
- Beekman also earned a spot on John Hollinger’s list at The Athletic of 10 returning NCAA players who have impressed him as potential NBA prospects. Iowa’s Kris Murray, Illinois’ Terrence Shannon, and Xavier’s Colby Jones are among the other college standouts singled out by Hollinger.
- Mirin Fader of The Ringer takes an in-depth look at the consensus No. 2 prospect in the 2023 draft class, profiling rising G League Ignite star Scoot Henderson.
- The NBA is now allowing sovereign wealth funds to invest in its franchises as minority stakeholders. Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic explains exactly what that means and lays out why it might be risky, noting that the league could have to make decisions on sovereign wealth funds associated with autocratic countries.