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#pounditSaturday, January 28, 2023

Rudy Gobert weighs in on Joel Embiid possibly playing for Team France

Rudy Gobert in his Timberwolves uniform

Nov 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert (27) dribbles the ball against the Phoenix Suns during the second quarter at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid is eligible to play for Team France in future international basketball competitions, setting up a potentially loaded frontcourt for the growing European power. One member of the team, however, had something of a warning for Embiid about making the commitment.

Minnesota Timberwolves center and French international Rudy Gobert said he would love to see Embiid join as his teammate on the national team, but only if Embiid is in it for the right reasons, and that he cannot just “show up” and expect the arrangement to work.

“For me the most important thing is if his heart tells him to be a part of Team France,” Gobert told Joe Vardon of The Athletic. “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.”

If Embiid did play for France, he would be able to team up with Gobert and likely No. 1 pick Victor Wembanyama to form one of the most imposing frontcourts in world basketball. Embiid, who was born in Cameroon, became eligible to compete for France after obtaining a passport earlier this year. He would also be eligible to join Team USA, and the American federation apparently has not given up hope of securing Embiid’s commitment.

There have been some reservations about Embiid playing for France, but those were voiced four years ago. Things are probably different now.

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