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#pounditFriday, July 12, 2024

Details emerge on Joel Embiid’s on-air recruitment of Paul George

Joel Embiid with a straight face

Apr 16, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) before game one of the first round for the 2022 NBA playoffs against the Toronto Raptors at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

A chance encounter between Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid and an ESPN reporter led to one of the most interesting side stories of Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

On Friday, Embiid appeared on ESPN’s “NBA Countdown” pregame show before tipoff at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. Embiid was seated next to expected free agent Paul George, whom the 76ers are reportedly very interested in signing.

Embiid made a not-so-subtle comment on air about the 76ers needing to “add some pieces” before next season. The 76ers star did so while side-eyeing George (video here).

On a recent episode of “The Hoop Collective” podcast, ESPN reporters Brian Windhorst and Tim Bontemps discussed Embiid’s “NBA Countdown” appearance (28:00 to 35:00). Bontemps revealed that a chat with Embiid while standing outside an arena bathroom led to the All-Star wanting to appear on the ESPN pregame segment with George.

“I said, ‘Hey, Paul is here. He’s doing [NBA] Countdown for us. And Joel says, ‘I’ll do Countdown.’ … So I texted Pete McConville, producer of the show, and I said. ‘I’m bringing Joel Embiid to the Countdown set.’ … [Embiid] had a nice chat with Paul George, sounded like about free agency,” Bontemps shared.

The story indirectly explains why George was wearing a coat, while Embiid appeared to be underdressed for the occasion.

George is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract and become a free agent this offseason. While returning to the Los Angeles Clippers is still the most probable outcome for George, several reports have linked the 9-time All-Star to the 76ers.

Embiid is clearly doing his part to help the Sixers land a big fish like George this offseason.


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