The Philadelphia 76ers had their hearts ripped out Sunday night in Toronto. Kawhi Leonard hit a fadeaway jumper from the corner that bounced four times before falling through the nylon, clinching a 92-90 victory in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals.
Joel Embiid, in particular, let his postgame emotions hang on his sleeve. The star Sixers center cried on his way to the locker room, and emphatically responded to questions in the press conference.
When asked about his thoughts on “The Process,” he didn’t hide his feelings at all.
The reporter asked: “Where would you say The Process is now? And you just played the most minutes you’ve ever played in regulation. Are you tired?”
“I don’t give a damn about The Process,” he retorted, “and no, I’m not tired.”
Joel Embiid Western Conference Semifinal Stats
It’s no secret that Embiid dealt with a lot of health and injury issues this postseason. From knee tendinitis that followed him from the regular season to a stomach virus in this series, he was not 100 percent.
After 54 points in the last two games against the Nets in the first round, the former 1st-rounder struggled at times against Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol. He scored more than 20 points just twice against the Raptors, including a 21-point effort in Game 7.
That came off a 6-of-18 effort from the field. He reached a double-double with 11 rebounds, while also dishing out four assists. His challenge of Leonard’s shot couldn’t have been better, as he forced the All-Star to fadeaway at an extreme angle.
Otherwise, he was simply inefficient. He needed 14 shots to score 17 points in Game 6 and 18 shots to score 16 points in Game 1. Other than a 33-point outburst in Game 3, he averaged just 13.8 points per game.
Future of The Process
Embiid is set to stick around with Philadelphia until 2023. He is committed to an average annual salary of $29.4 million, including a whopping $33.6 million in his final season. The Sixers could trade him down the line, but he’s a hefty financial obligation for any team.
As far Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, both are seeing significant offseason interest for their services.
Gordie Jones of Forbes speculates that the Nets, the Knicks and the Clippers are going to make a run at Butler. This is despite the possibility that he would make less per season on new teams (“190 million over 5 years” goes down to “$141 million over 4 years” on new one).
According to the Sporting News, the Utah Jazz will pursue Harris to add an extra scorer alongside Donovan Mitchell. The Nets, Grizzlies and Mavericks are also pursuing the forward.
The Jazz could be looking to add another scorer this summer.
Utah is expected to pursue Tobias Harris in free agency, according to a report from The Athletic, which cites unidentified league sources. The team “would have at least a fighting chance” to sign him if he decides to leave the 76ers, the report says.
While both could leave, clearing one out could convince the other to stay, as Philadelphia could use the extra cash to bring someone else into the fold for 2019-20.