Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid's season is over courtesy of his team's Game 5 loss to the Boston Celtics on Wednesday in the Eastern Conference semifinals. For he and the Sixers, the off-season and questions about what the team will do take the next step in its development loom.
While it will be a while until the free-agency period officially opens -- July 1, if you've got a calendar handy -- Embiid knows that his turn from good, young player to All-Star comes with some unwritten responsibilities. Among them is helping the Sixers recruit free agents they have their eye on, a job Embiid told reporters yesterday he's willing to fulfill should Philadelphia need it.
Here's more from Philly.com's Keith Pompey on Embiid's outlook on playing recruiter:
The 76ers center was asked Thursday if he would be interested in playing with LeBron James next season.
"Um …well … um. Is this tampering?" the all-star starter responded.
Embiid didn't answer the question when speaking to reporters after his end-of-the-season exit interview. He did, however, say he'll answer that question on July 1, when free agency begins.
The Cavaliers superstar will become a free agent July 1. The Sixers, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets, and Cavs are believed to be on his short list of teams. The Sixers are expected to have enough cap space available to go after an A-list free agent who could propel them to an NBA title. Josh Harris, the team's co-managing partner, said he would even pay the luxury tax if need be to sign the right player.
"I'll do whatever this team needs me to do," Embiid said of attracting free agents. "I feel like I'm the leader. If the team needs me to recruit somebody, I'll be here. I'll be doing that.
"I want to win. I feel like any of those guys that they want to go after that's going to help us win, I'll be right here helping them."