Sixers Star Fires Agent, Looking for ‘Right’ Team: Report

Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons

Getty Joel Embiid recently fired his agent while the Sixers might be exploring trade options for Ben Simmons following their second-round playoff loss.

While the trade winds continue to swirl around Ben Simmons, another Philadelphia 76ers star has decided to make a drastic move. Joel Embiid is parting ways with Creative Arts Agency (CAA) as he seeks out a marketing team to bolster his brand.

It’s not a surprising development or one that Sixers fans should worry about. According to The Inquirer’s Keith Pompey, Embiid is interested in “building the right marketing team” and not looking for a new agent at this time. He had enjoyed a great player-client relationship with Leon Rose at CAA before Rose left to become president of basketball operations for the New York Knicks in 2020, Pompey reported.

Rose, a Philly native, was Allen Iverson’s longtime agent. After Rose, Embiid worked with Michael Tellem at CAA, and their relationship was considered great, Pompey wrote. There doesn’t appear to be any animosity from either party. Embiid is just looking for a fresh start as he looks to grow his own burgeoning brand.

The runner-up for MVP inked a five-year endorsement deal with Under Armour in 2018 that made him one of the highest-paid pitch men at his position, according to Fashion Network. Embiid talked about wanting to make a global impact at the time, with a focus on doing something “bigger than basketball.”

“Basketball has given me everything, but it has to be bigger than basketball. That was the first thing that I said to Under Armour, and they were behind it 100-percent,” Embiid told ESPN in 2018. “This isn’t about a shoe deal. I mean, listen, I’m gonna make sure they design some shoes as pretty as I am. Don’t worry about that. We’re gonna take care of that. But this is bigger than that. I want to use this partnership to do something real.”

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Sixers Hesitant to Break Up Embiid-Simmons Duo

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Sixers are hesitant to trade Simmons and break up the foundation of the team’s “Process.” Simmons’ agent, Rich Paul, who also represents LeBron James, met with Sixers brass at the pre-draft combine in Chicago this week to talk about the future.

One sticking point has been the mega-deal (four years and $147 million left) that Simmons signed in 2019. Some thought a poor playoffs hurt the Aussie star’s trade value, but his value around the league remains “significant,” per Wojnarowski. He wrote:

Paul engaged the Sixers on whether it makes sense to work together to find a trade before the start of next season, but no request was made and the sides are expected to continue talking ahead of the July 29 NBA draft and August free agency, sources said. The 76ers are committed to keeping Simmons as a central piece of their franchise, sources said.

All-Star Big Man Not Ready to Give Up

Embiid was asked point blank whether he wanted the Sixers to keep the team fully intact, meaning Simmons and all, to make another run in 2022 after their disappointing loss in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. The wound was still too fresh, so he avoided a straight answer.

“That’s a trick question. I don’t think this is the time to be talking about that stuff,” Embiid told reporters. “We had great guys, on and off the court. I love all of them and I still believe if I was 100 percent, if we were just as a team, all together, still believe that we had a shot at winning it all. Obviously a lot of things didn’t go well but like I said me personally under the circumstances I did what I could and I gave everything I had.”

Embiid was talking about playing on a torn meniscus in the latter part. He averaged 30.4 points, 12.7 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 3.9 assists per game while battling a nagging right knee injury in the second round.

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