NBA

Embiid pondering future as 76ers exit NBA playoffs after series sweep

By Sports Desk August 23, 2020

Joel Embiid is unsure about his future with the Philadelphia 76ers following their swift elimination from the NBA playoffs, though the All-Star reiterated his desire to retire at the franchise.

The 76ers were swept 4-0 by rivals the Boston Celtics in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs after Sunday's 110-106 loss in Orlando, Florida.

Philadelphia reached the Conference semi-finals last season, dramatically denied by the buzzer-beating shot of Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard, but the championship hopefuls now find themselves at a crossroads.

There is uncertainty over head coach Brett Brown, while there have been reports Embiid and fellow All-Star Ben Simmons could be traded.

"I don't make the decisions. I'm here in Philly. Whatever happens, happens," said Embiid, who signed a five-year, $148million contract extension in 2017 after being drafted with the third pick three years earlier.

"I've always said that I want to end my career here and if it happens, good. If it doesn't happen, well, you move on and all that stuff."

Dubbed "Trust the Process", the 76ers embarked on a drastic rebuild under former general manager Sam Hinkie as their struggles on the court led to Philadelphia drafting two potential franchise cornerstones in Embiid and Simmons.

They made the Conference semi-finals in 2018 and 2019, but in pursuit of a first championship since 1983, Philadelphia capped out and went all in on Tobias Harris and Al Horford on max contracts as they parted with numerous picks.

The 76ers gave up a lot in their deal to lure Harris from the Los Angeles Clippers and it was the same for Jimmy Butler in November, only for the All-Star to leave at the end of the 2018-19 season.

Horford, meanwhile, has struggled to fit since arriving from the Celtics.

Pressure is on GM Elton Brand and the 26-year-old Embiid – who led the 76ers in Game 4 with 30 points and 10 rebounds – said: "I just feel like, a couple years ago, when we made the playoffs for the first time, we had a bunch of great players that were drafted here or either formed in Philly and we had a bunch of guys especially that were in a great situation.

"And then we, as you know, we decided to trade a lot of it with the picks and stuff for Jimmy, Tobias and we got a bunch of great players in return. Like I said, it just didn't happen. We could never find a rhythm this year.

"It is disappointing. There's a lot of regrets. I felt like the focus was not always there. And we got to do better, we just got to look at ourselves in the mirror and just do better."

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