Colangelo: Likelihood Joel Embiid Plays In Summer League is Nil

According to Bryan Colangelo, the Sixers president of basketball operations, there's almost no chance that Joel Embiid will compete in summer league competition next month.

Sixers head coach Brett Brown works with Joel Embiid before the Sixers played the Indiana Pacers last season at the Wells Fargo Center | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Bryan Colangelo says there’s almost no chance Joel Embiid will play in Summer League next month. | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports writer Scott Howard-Cooper is in Treviso, Italy, where he sat down with 76ers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo during a break in the adidas Eurocamp.

Howard-Cooper’s report, which you can read in full here, covered on a wide-ranging set of topics, including what the Sixers will do with the #1 pick, whether a trade involving Jahlil Okafor or Nerlens Noel is being discussed, and what the Sixers will do with the 24th and 26th selections in the draft.

Of note, however, was an update on the odds Joel Embiid will play in summer league, which kicks off July 4th in Utah. Once the Utah Summer League wraps up, the Sixers will then head over to Las Vegas Summer League, which takes place from July 8th through July 18th.

According to Colangelo, there’s almost no chance Embiid will participate in either league.
“There’s no timeline. But until I hear a doctor tell me ‘No summer league,’ I will always say anything’s open,” Colangelo started off. “But the likelihood of him playing summer league is nil.

“If he makes enough progress and the doctors say he’s ready to go there’s no reason he shouldn’t,” Colangelo continued. “But having said that, I would say it’s a 99-percent chance, maybe a 100-percent chance, that he’s not going to play. We just don’t want to put him in a situation where he hasn’t been playing competitive basketball. We probably want to ease into that and that would mean sometime after summer league.”

That maintains a stance the Sixers have held since the previous regime, when Sam Hinkie told reporters at the trade deadline that he didn’t think Embiid would compete in summer league. Still, calling it a “99-percent chance” Embiid doesn’t play is the strongest stance the team has taken, and with less than a month until summer league action begins there’s not much time for Embiid to make more progress than expected.

Dario Saric Contract Buyout Deadline

Whether or not Dario Saric joins the Sixers this summer is a popular topic of conversation, and one that should be resolved relatively soon.

Saric has a buyout clause in his contract which would allow him to leave for the NBA after the second year of his three-year contract with Anadolu Efes. Saric signed the contract in June 2014.

According to Howard-Cooper, Saric has to decide whether he is going to exercise that buyout by July 17th. The deadline is one based on his contract with Efes, not a deadline set by the NBA.

That timing would leave the Sixers in a little bit of a predicament, as Saric’s rights will place a cap hold of ~$1.9 million on the Sixers’ salary cap books until he either signs a contract with the Sixers or the Sixers file paperwork with the league office informing them that Saric won’t be playing in the NBA for the 2016-17 season.

The Sixers are obviously not going to write that letter to the league office prior to knowing Saric’s decision, so if Saric were to delay his decision until the last possible moment it could adversely (albeit minimally) impact the Sixers’ salary cap situation, even if he ends up not coming over. It would leave the Sixers unsure of their roster construction heading into the busy free agency period.

As such, the Sixers are hoping to get the situation resolved “weeks earlier” than the deadline, according to Howard-Cooper.

Derek Bodner covers the 76ers for Philadelphia magazine. Follow @DerekBodnerNBA on Twitter.