October 17, 2015
Less than 24 hours after an article, which painted Sixers center Joel Embiid and GM Sam Hinkie as sources of friction within the organization, appeared on SI.com, coach Brett Brown has refuted the report, calling it "wildly inaccurate" and "wildly unfair."
In the story, writer Brian Geltzeiler reported Embiid had displayed a pattern of insubordination with training staff members that ranged from not answering questions concerning his rehab and ignoring their dietary suggestions to physically threatening one trainer. Furthermore, according Geltzeiler's sources, Embiid refused to wear a boot on his surgically repaired foot. It also added that he traveled to the team to Las Vegas despite the team wanting him to stay home and undergo a second surgery on his foot, a surgery that may have been preventable had he followed doctors' orders during his recovery from the original procedure.
“Embiid’s lax approach to his rehab and the circumstances surrounding the second foot surgery he needed this past summer — which appears like it will cost him the entire 2015–16 season — has caused the organization much anxiety. The simple task of getting Embiid to consistently wear his walking boot was a challenge for the franchise, and multiple sources suggested that some people in Philadelphia’s front office wonder whether a second surgery would have been necessary if Embiid had worn the boot as much as he was told to.” [si.com]
None of that, however, is true, says Brown.
Here's what the Sixers coach had to say prior to the team's 127-118 loss to the Wizards Friday night, via Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer:
"This story is old. It's been documented. The media did a hell of a job reporting accurately what has been going on," Brown said. "To all of a sudden wake up and have these things be revisited, I think in some ways is unfortunate and sad."
"I'm proud of where Joel Embiid is at," Brown said. "He's had a rough few years of not playing. He will get there. We're moving him forward. And more importantly, he's moving himself forward." [philly.com]
The Sports Illustrated story also said that neither Brown nor CEO Scott O'Neil were on board with the Michael Carter-Williams trade, which came as a surprise to both. Sixers PR chief Michael Preston previously told SI that was an "unsubstantiated rumor" and "a gross mischaracterization of the events" leading up to the deal.
"It's just one of those things that we move on from," Brown added. "We're pretty much treating it as noise. We will move on from it."