If Joel Embiid really doesn’t want to play basketball or work hard while doing it, then he should probably say something.

In a scathing Sports Illustrated report that highlights just how big a risk the former Kansas center is, team officials so concerned with the 21-year-old’s poor diet choices that team officials would stock his hotel refrigerator with fresh fruits, juices and other healthy food.

Upon their return, 76ers officials would find the healthy food thrown out, while a check of his hotel receipts proved that Embiid overloaded with junk food and pitchers of Shirley Temples.

On top of Embiid trying to eat himself out of the league, the threats against staff members only exacerbated the situation. More details below.

The fact that Brown sent Embiid home from a West Coast road trip last season for being insubordinate to the team’s strength coach and training staff is well documented, but according to a source, the tipping point in the decision was Embiid physically threatening the strength coach on that road trip. According to sources, this followed a pattern of insubordination from Embiid during the rehabilitation of his initial foot injury that sidelined him for the entire 2014–15 season, where he would repeatedly refuse to answer questions from the training staff about his workouts and therapy sessions.

Embiid’s lax approach to his rehab and the circumstances surrounding the second foot surgery he needed this past summer — which appears like it will cost him the entire 2015–16 season — has caused the organization much anxiety. The simple task of getting Embiid to consistently wear his walking boot was a challenge for the franchise, and multiple sources suggested that some people in Philadelphia’s front office wonder whether a second surgery would have been necessary if Embiid had worn the boot as much as he was told to.

Also, according to multiple sources, Harris did not want Embiid to attend the annual Las Vegas Summer League this past July so they could proceed with the surgery on his navicular bone. Brown and Hinkie were both given strict instructions by Harris to keep Embiid from going to Vegas, yet each of them put the onus on the other to handle the job, and neither did.

Embiid was determined to go to Vegas to party for the balance of the 10 days of summer league. While Embiid was in Vegas, he was mandated to wear the walking boot in advance of the second surgery, but Embiid not only refused to wear the boot, but he carried himself as if nothing was wrong with the foot, shooting jumpers and even occasionally dunking. These actions have given rise to the theory that Embiid actually re-broke his foot, rather than the initial injury not healing properly. It also led to Embiid having the surgery a month later than the club originally had hoped.

It could be time for the 76ers and the organization to move on.

By Glenn Erby


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