Shockwaves were sent through the NBA following the news of Joel Embiid’s foot injury. With the Kansas product now needing surgery on his foot, coming off a back injury that already had teams concerned, the consensus is that he’ll no longer be the top pick in the upcoming 2014 NBA draft.
Now that Embiid will almost certainly fall in the draft, a lot of uncertainty surrounds his future in the NBA. Embiid will likely still be a lottery pick come June 26, but it is unclear how far he’ll fall and what teams are willing to take a chance on an already injury prone center.
Embiid’s agent, Arn Tellem, still hopes the Cleveland Cavaliers will roll the dice on the promising young center with the top pick, but if he doesn’t go first, Tellem wants him to fall to the Boston Celtics or Los Angeles Lakers, according to Grantland’s Bill Simmons:
Also hearing that Arn Tellem wanted Embiid to go first… but if that can't happen, he's going to push hard to steer him to Boston or LA.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) June 19, 2014
As of right now, there’s no clear indication of what players the Celtics or Lakers are targeting in the draft. Both teams have worked out numerous draft prospects over the past few weeks and will continue to bring in players leading up to the draft, but there’s been no indication as to which player either team has at the top of their list.
The Lakers may ultimately go with the best player available once their number is called. Julius Randle (Kentucky) or Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State) could be there for the taking, but GM Mitch Kupchak and company may elect to trade the pick.
Although reports have surfaced that the Lakers are leaning toward keeping the pick and drafting the best player on the board, a trade could still be a realistic possibility. One trade scenario might already be in the works with Los Angeles possibly considering giving up the seventh pick in exchange for Thaddeus Young and the 10th pick.
With the draft less than a week away, the speculation will continue concerning Embiid’s immediate future and the Lakers’ options. Los Angeles taking Embiid isn’t out of the realm of possibility, but risking a lottery pick on an injured player after two seasons plagued injuries doesn’t seem like the best course of action.
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