76ers

Joel Embiid keeps his new vow, though he thinks technical and flagrant fouls are 'starting to get ridiculous'

Joel Embiid keeps his new vow, though he thinks technical and flagrant fouls are 'starting to get ridiculous'

Joel Embiid has one suspension in his career, a two-game verdict handed down by the NBA on Halloween for a fight with the Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns and subsequent “escalation” that included shadowboxing to the delight of the crowd at Wells Fargo Center and jabs on social media in the wee hours of the morning. If he’s true to his word, that will be his last.

That’s what Embiid said Wednesday night after a second-quarter incident with Marcus Morris in the Sixers’ 109-104 win over the Knicks for which he was assessed a technical foul and Morris was given both a technical and a Flagrant 1.

“Obviously get away from the whole situation, which I did,” Embiid said. “I backed away. I vowed to never get suspended again, so that’s never going to happen. I’ve gotta limit my technical fouls. If someone is going to push me on the ground, that’s something I can’t control. But what I can control is I can’t be the instigator and actually start it. Going to do my job. My teammates need me to be on the floor, so that’s what I believe.”

Embiid was strong in his criticism of the referees’ decision to give him a technical. 

I didn’t have anything with him. I just got thrown on the ground and I literally don’t know why I got a technical foul, being the victim. I didn’t do anything. I feel like it’s starting to get ridiculous with the flagrants. Even the last one — I mean, I make a play and they still call a flagrant. This one, I have nothing to do, and I get thrown on the ground, and I get a technical foul. … It’s just annoying.

In the midst of his comments, he seemed to catch himself. A player who wants to avoid fines, suspensions and the like would probably be wise to adopt a more diplomatic approach.

“I feel like we’re all humans,” he continued. “Referees, they’re great guys, they’re great people. Maybe they see something else. I guess I trust whatever they feel that they see.”

Brett Brown surely remembered what happened in a near-identical spot on the floor a little over three weeks earlier, when much of his team ended up in an angry mass of bodies on the ground after Embiid and Towns got tied up. He was quick Wednesday night to plant himself between Morris and Embiid, extending his arms just in case it was necessary to separate the two. He was pleased with Embiid’s response.

“I was happy with that,” he said. “He had the maturity to walk away.”

Though trouble does seem to find Embiid, it would be naive to attribute his history with technical and flagrant fouls solely to bad luck. The two-time All-Star gets under the skin of opponents, embellishes contact, lets overmatched and undersized opponents know they cannot stop him. 

“He’s too big to be flopping,” Morris told reporters. “Just flopping and then grabbing. I’m not the one that’s going to take that. He knows that. He knows what I’m about.” 

The idea of Embiid avoiding such drama completely in the future sounds improbable. But for Embiid, the goal of having his absences be due exclusively to load management, not league-mandated punishment, is reasonable enough.

He said he’ll play in the Sixers’ upcoming home back-to-back, Friday vs. San Antonio and Saturday vs. the Miami Heat and his friend Jimmy Butler. 

So far, so good on that vow.

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Knicks targeting Elton Brand as GM? Sixers 'very happy' with him, per team source

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Knicks targeting Elton Brand as GM? Sixers 'very happy' with him, per team source

The Knicks could be looking within the Sixers' organization during their GM search.

Team president Leon Rose has reportedly “targeted” Sixers GM Elton Brand for the same role with the Knicks, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. The report went on to say that Rose would wait to see if Brand, 41, would be let go after this year’s playoffs.

It’s a little hard to imagine the Sixers parting ways with Brand despite the team underperforming this season. Though his big moves of stealing Al Horford away from the Celtics, acquiring Josh Richardson in a sign-and-trade for Jimmy Butler and signing Tobias Harris to a near-max deal haven’t panned out, the organization seems to be high on Brand.

A team source on Wednesday confirmed Brand is under contract beyond this season and said the organization is very happy with his work since being named GM in 2018. The source cited Brand's leadership and strong working relationships with players, agents, and executives around the league.

That's in line with what managing partner Josh Harris told NBC Sports Philadelphia back in October.

“When the Bryan Colangelo situation occurred, we went through a really long search to try to figure out who was the right person for the job of general manager,” Harris said. “Obviously, [Brand] hadn't been in the front office very long, but all of his strength as a leader and his intelligence and his ability to communicate and his history with the game and with our team and with our city. All those things really were very large in the decision. …

“… and he's increasingly putting his insignia, his imprint on the team, and it's really great. I mean, today's NBA is a player's league. He was an All-Star player not that long ago. He's a really unique person. So I'm really happy that we're working together.”

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Which era of Sixers basketball would make the best documentary?

Which era of Sixers basketball would make the best documentary?

The Sixers are a franchise rich in history and, let’s face it, rich in drama.

With ESPN moving up the release of The Last Dance, a documentary about the dominance of Michael Jordan and the Bulls in their last Finals run, it sparked an interesting debate on the Sixers Talk podcast.

Which era of Sixers basketball would you most like to see a documentary on?

Co-hosts Danny Pommells and Paul Hudrick both made the case for Dr. J, Moses Malone and the teams of 1980’s … but for very different reasons.

Don’t get me wrong,” Hudrick said, “some of The Process stuff would be great to get some behind-the-scenes nuggets of what was going on there with some of the decisions that were made and getting some answers to the questions that we’ve all had. …

“[In a documentary on the 1980’s team] we can all go back and watch and see, ‘Oh, Dr. J, he won a championship.’ But to get that context of there were people who were doubting him and then he proved them all wrong. It’s little stuff like that you don’t know about until you go and watch [a documentary] like that.

Pommells agreed with wanting to see something on that era, but wasn’t nearly as interested in reliving The Process years.

To hell with The Process. I ain’t trying to watch nothing on that. I lived through it, I experienced all these little idiosyncrasies. I think once the Bryan Colangelo thing happened, that completely let me know that I was over it, past it, finished with it, ready to move on — because I’m just exasperated at this point. …

“It would be a black eye on the Philadelphia sports landscape.

Do you agree with Pommells? Would you rather see something on the Allen Iverson-led teams? Or way back in the Wilt Chamberlain-Hal Greer days?

For more on the debate, check out the full Sixers Talk podcast below.

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