76ers

Sixers 'a little bit' disappointed by Joel Embiid's dancing at Meek Mill concert

Sixers 'a little bit' disappointed by Joel Embiid's dancing at Meek Mill concert

Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said before Saturday’s game against the Heat that it was “a little bit” disappointing that injured center Joel Embiid elected to hop onstage and dance at Friday’s Meek Mill concert in the Wells Fargo Center.

“Perhaps he crossed a line, perception-wise,” Colangelo added.

Coach Brett Brown said he had discussed the situation with the 22-year-old rookie but declined to get into the specifics of the conversation.

“It's not the best thing to see when you wake up on Saturday morning and find out that was the case because I know the reaction,” Colangelo said of the video that surfaced of Embiid dancing, shirtless, at the show. “I understand some of the potential concern out there.” 

Colangelo and Brown both emphasized that Embiid, who injured his left knee when he landed awkwardly after dunking against Portland on Jan. 20, has been moving well on the court in recent workouts.

The team first called his injury a contusion, and Embiid and Brown later said it was a bone bruise. Derek Bodner of derekbodner.com reported Saturday that Embiid has a torn meniscus, and Colangelo subsequently described the injury as a “very minor meniscal tear,” as well as a bone bruise (see full story).

On Saturday, Embiid missed his ninth straight game, and his 12th in the Sixers’ last 13. His only appearance in that stretch was a 32-point effort in a nationally televised loss to Houston on Jan. 27.

Colangelo said it is “more than likely we’ll hold him back until the end of the All-Star break,” meaning he will probably miss Monday’s game in Charlotte and Wednesday’s game in Boston, as well as his planned appearances in the Rising Stars Challenge and the skills competition on All-Star weekend in New Orleans.

As for the dancing, Colangelo said, “Being at a concert wasn't disappointing. Probably being onstage and dancing was a little bit, given the circumstances and given the potential reaction. It's understandable.”

Colangelo called Embiid “highly responsible” and added, “It's hard to say to someone like Joel that has been a tremendous character and tremendous citizen for us, that he's doing anything untoward or wrong.”

Team officials take “a very serious tone” with players about making wise off-court decisions, Colangelo said, though he declined to get into specifics of those conversations.

Brown was likewise mum about his discussions with Embiid.

“I did see the video, and the conversations with Joel after I saw the video included a lot, some of which (media members) mentioned,” he said. “By and large I’d prefer it was a private conversation with a 20-year-old.”

He stopped short of saying he was disappointed with the rookie, and referred a question about how Embiid could dance but not play to Colangelo.

Sixers Talk podcast: Matisse Thybulle might already be the sixth man

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NBC Sports Philadelphia/NBC Sports Philadelphia

Sixers Talk podcast: Matisse Thybulle might already be the sixth man

Danny Pommells and Paul Hudrick discuss the amount of games they expect Joel Embiid to play, Ben Simmons' self-awareness and Matisse Thybulle already surpassing expectations.

• Will Embiid set a career high in games played with his new load management plan? The guys make a friendly wager.

• Simmons gave arguably the most thoughtful quote he's ever given.

• Is Thybulle already the Sixers' sixth best player?

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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Sixers pick up Zhaire Smith's third-year option, make clear call to bank on his further development

Sixers pick up Zhaire Smith's third-year option, make clear call to bank on his further development

Zhaire Smith's role with the Sixers isn't yet clear for this season, but the 20-year-old guard has a future with the team.

General manager Elton Brand confirmed that Wednesday. The team announced it has exercised Smith's third-year option for the 2020-21 season, worth $3.2 million

The Sixers acquired Smith and the Miami Heat's 2021 first-round pick last year in a draft-night trade with the Phoenix Suns, who received Mikal Bridges. Smith played in six regular-season games his rookie year, averaging 6.7 points and and 2.2 rebounds per game, but that's far from the whole story. Smith broke his foot in August, then suffered a severe allergic reaction and subsequent complications that led to him losing over 35 pounds. Over time, Smith regained his standout athleticism and rebuilt his jump shot after changing his form to compensate for his loss of strength (see story).

Head coach Brett Brown described Smith during training camp as a "pogo stick" and has praised his talent for on-ball defense, comparing him on multiple occasions to Avery Bradley. However, Smith has not been part of the Sixers' rotation during the preseason. Brown has acknowledged that development is a great priority for the Sixers with Smith than immediate contribution, especially after everything he went through as a rookie. The emergence of rookie Matisse Thybulle and solid play of Shake Milton during the preseason are further reasons why Smith hasn't been playing with the Sixers' regulars. Smith played the entire fourth quarter Tuesday night of the Sixers' 106-86 win over the Pistons and had seven points and three rebounds.

"It's just a process, so I'm not worried about it," he said. "As long as we get the win, it doesn't matter."

Given the potential the Sixers saw in Smith — and continue to see — it never seemed plausible that they would decline his third-year option.

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More on the Sixers