Joel Embiid, Paul George fuel free agency rumors with TV appearance together at NBA Finals



Joel Embiid and Paul George have plenty in common. They are both NBA superstars. They are both charming on-air personalities. And, of course, neither has made it to the NBA Finals. Embiid’s quest for a ring has never advanced beyond the second round. George has three conference finals appearances, but has never made it to the biggest stage.

On Friday, though, both made appearances at Game 4 between the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks in a media capacity. The two of them showed up on ESPN’s NBA Countdown pre-game show, and both of them made it clear how badly they want to reach the Finals themselves as players. “This is my first Finals appearance, and I hate that it had to come in this fashion,” George said. “Watching from the sideline, it don’t feel good.” Embiid concurred. “I want to be here, I want to win so bad.”

Now to address the elephant in the room. Embiid wants the 76ers to improve, especially in light of Boston’s success in the Finals. So he opened up a bit about his team’s offseason.

“Hopefully this offseason we’ll find a way to get better and, you know, add some pieces,” he said, coyly, while sitting next to an impending free agent in George. Embiid’s 76ers are set to have max cap space this offseason, and George has been their primary target according to most reporting. Meanwhile, the Clippers have reportedly been hesitant to offer George a full, four-year max contract, instead preferring to ink him to a three-year, sub-max deal similar to the one they gave Kawhi Leonard. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said that George and the Clippers “are not on the same page” financially on an appearance on the Pat McAfee Show.

A star trio of Embiid, George and Tyrese Maxey in Philadelphia would make the 76ers a serious championship threat, and could represent the best chance either star has of reaching the Finals next season. Of course, the Clippers aren’t out of the running for George quite yet. If nothing else, making an appearance like this will certainly put pressure on them to increase their offer.

We don’t know who George would choose if the money is equal. We don’t know if he’d leave money on the table to join the 76ers, either, and there are other potential max-level suitors like the Orlando Magic and his former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, to monitor as well. But it’s hard to imagine George and Embiid appearing together like this to be an accident. They are not former teammates. They are not known to have any notable connections besides the possibility that they share a roster next season. There are still weeks to go before free agency, but if there was ever any question, the 76ers are now seriously in play to land George.





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