Kansas center Joel Embiid is scheduled to have surgery Friday to repair a stress fracture in his right foot, a stunning development that could affect the top choices in next week’s NBA draft.
Embiid, one of the top three candidates the Cleveland Cavaliers were considering for the No. 1 overall pick, fractured the navicular bone in his right foot, agent Arn Tellem said Thursday. Embiid will be unable to participate in any additional workouts and will not attend the draft in New York.
Before the injury, Embiid was widely considered to be the front-runner to be taken by the Cavaliers. The versatile 7-footer had a jaw-dropping freshman season with the Jayhawks, averaging 11.2 points and 8.1 rebounds while blocking 72 shots to earn Big 12 defensive player of the year honors.
His combination of nimble feet, powerful athleticism and the soft touch on his jumper prompted comparisons to Hakeem Olajuwon, the former Houston great who led the Rockets to two NBA titles in the 1990s. Embiid impressed teams and scouts during workouts in California earlier this month, helping him show he was fully recovered from a stress fracture in his back that caused him to miss the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments.
Embiid worked out for the Cavaliers last week. Fellow Kansas star Andrew Wiggins worked out for the Cavs on Wednesday while Duke’s Jabari Parker was expected to audition for the top pick on Friday.
Exactly when Embiid injured his foot was not immediately clear, but the combination of last season’s back injury and this summer’s foot injury could give some teams pause on draft night.
Riley: Heat need to retool, not rebuild
MIAMI — Pat Riley did not use his 15 exit interviews with Miami Heat players to talk individually about the future of the team.
Instead, he addressed them — and anyone else who was listening — en masse on Thursday.
“You’ve got to stay together, if you’ve got the guts,” Riley said. “You don’t find the first door and run out of it if you have an opportunity. This is four years now into this era, this team. Four finals — it’s only been done three other times before — and two championships. From day one to the end, it was like a Broadway show. It sort of ran out of steam. And we need to retool. We don’t need to rebuild. We need to retool.
“And that’s what we’re going to do.”
Riley spoke for nearly an hour, and was passionate on his message, which ranged from everything to James Ingram songs to high-end scotch to the direction that the Heat will have this summer.
AP source: Cavs offer Blatt coaching job
CLEVELAND — A person familiar with the decision says the Cavaliers have offered successful European coach David Blatt their coaching job and are discussing a contract.
After an exhaustive, five-week search, the Cavs zeroed in on Blatt and are in negotiations with him, said the person who spoke Thursday night to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team is not commenting.
The 55-year-old Blatt recently resigned as coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv, this year’s Euroleague champions, to pursue his dream of coaching in the NBA. He was coveted as an assistant by Minnesota and Golden State.
By wire sources