Sixers Notes: Embiid, George, McCain, Depth

A few weeks after working together on ESPN’s coverage of the NBA Finals, Joel Embiid and Paul George are Sixers teammates, writes Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Embiid dropped a not-so-subtle hint during that broadcast, saying that Philadelphia needed to upgrade its roster and glancing at George, who was involved in extension negotiations with the Clippers at the time that ultimately collapsed and resulted in his free agency.

Speaking to reporters Saturday after Team USA’s first practice to prepare for the Summer Olympics, Embiid talked about what a difference it will make to have another All-Star joining him and Tyrese Maxey in Philadelphia.

“My focus is on helping [my teammates] as much as possible,” Embiid said. “Making the game easy for them, so I don’t have to do a lot, like in the past years. It was exciting [getting George]. Obviously, that’s a great job that [the front office] did. But we’ve still got to go on the court and try to win.”

Embiid has been one of the league’s most dominant players over the last two years, winning MVP honors in 2023 and possibly heading for a repeat before being sidelined with a torn meniscus in January. However, he has also frequently broken down in the playoffs and should benefit from not having to carry the team as much during the regular season.

The addition of George, along with Caleb Martin, Eric Gordon and Andre Drummondhas the Sixers looking like legitimate title contenders, but Embiid cautioned that everything might not click right away.

“Obviously, everybody always has the mindset [of] winning a championship, and that’s the goal,” he said. “But you’ve also got to understand it’s going to take a while for everybody to be on the same page. Hopefully it doesn’t take us a while and we just [have it] from the beginning, but that’s kind of rare.”

There’s more on the Sixers:

  • First-round pick Jared McCain plans to turn to Maxey as a mentor as he adjusts to the NBA game, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Pompey notes that both players fell out of the lottery even though they were coming off productive seasons at traditional college powers. “Whether it’s the work ethic, how is transition was from college to the NBA, I’m going to try to learn everything I can from (Maxey),” McCain said. “He’s an All-Star now. Everything I can, I’m going to try and figure it out and learn from him.”
  • While the Sixers have been very active in adding players in free agency, they also lost several veterans and currently only have nine players on standard contracts, including Ricky Council‘s non-guaranteed salary for 2024/25. David Murphy of The Philadelphia Inquirer takes a look at how the team might fill out the rest of its roster.
  • In case you missed it, the Sixers have officially signed former Heat wing Caleb Martin to a four-year contract. They also waived big man Paul Reedwho was on a non-guaranteed deal, to create cap room for Martin’s addition.

Rory Maher contributed to this post.

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