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Joel Embiid still not cleared to go full-bore, 76ers say

21 Septembre 2017

Training camp around the league is set to start next week with the preseason taking place not long after that.

For all of the optimism surrounding Simmons, rookie Markelle Fultz, JJ Redick and company, Embiid's uncertain status would be a significant obstacle to overcome because he is clearly the most important Sixer.

The foremost question on everybody's minds when Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo and coach Brett Brown met with reporters over lunch Wednesday afternoon was simple: When is Joel Embiid going to be able to play 5-on-5? Embiid's health was the major news to emerge from the question-and-answer session.

"This is not about being ready for the first practice or the first game", Colangelo said.

The 76ers selected Embiid with the third pick in the 2014 draft.

The 7-foot-2, 280-pound Embiid was a dynamic player when he was on the court last season. He averaged 20.2 points and 7.8 rebounds last season. The 76ers are 75-253 since then. The Sixers can extend Embiid for more than $100 million over four years, which would kick in for the 2018-19 campaign.

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Dario Saric, who is slated to be the sixth man, is capable of playing some center in a small lineup and Brown said he could experiment with Simmons at the "5" position, but those would only be stopgap solutions.

But Embiid's health complicates the 76ers' decision when it comes to the center's contract.

Embiid not being physically ready now means he probably won't be 100 percent by the October 16 deadline for a contract extension.

Should the two sides not come to an agreement, Embiid would become a restricted free agent next summer if the Sixers give him an $8 million qualifying offer.

"I'm cautiously optimistic that we can potentially find common ground", Colangelo said, "but it will take common ground to get something done".

Joel Embiid still not cleared to go full-bore, 76ers say