Joel Embiid’s on-air recruitment of Paul George during the NBA Finals pregame was not enough. Despite early links to the 76ers, interest between the sides has cooled, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Officially, Philadelphia and George cannot negotiate yet—under the CBA terms, he can only negotiate with his current team, the Clippers, until June 30. However, in the NBA’s tampering world, some groundwork discussions have likely occurred.

Philadelphia is actively seeking a high-level wing to place between Embiid and Tyrese Maxey, aiming to boost their title chances. “I would say the biggest need is… someone at the wing who can play and deliver at a high level in the playoffs,” said 76ers GM Daryl Morey after the season.

George recently expressed his priorities in free agency, emphasizing the importance of “playing the right style of basketball” over simply chasing a championship. “I mean, for sure contributing to winning basketball… People are saying, ‘chasing a championship.’ Like, it’s not that. But it’s playing the right style of basketball is what I’m chasing,” George said on his podcast.

What exactly is the “right style of basketball” for George? Last season, alongside James Harden and Kawhi Leonard, he was an All-Star, averaging 22.6 points per game with his highest shooting efficiency ever (61.3 true shooting percentage). Despite a slight dip in his usage rate, George had a strong defensive performance and narrowly missed making the All-NBA team.

Several factors could explain why negotiations between George and the 76ers have stalled. George might be nearing a deal to stay with the Clippers, which could be announced soon. The number of guaranteed years in the contract could also be a sticking point. The Clippers reportedly want to offer George, 34, only three guaranteed years, while he seeks at least four. If the 76ers made a similar offer, it might not meet George’s expectations. Additionally, the financial terms could be a factor. The Clippers’ offer was reportedly below the max, and if Philadelphia’s offer was similar, it might have caused George to hesitate.

Another consideration is the influence of other players’ opinions about team management. George mentioned on his podcast that “players talk” about teams and organizations. James Harden has publicly criticized Philadelphia GM Daryl Morey, calling him a liar, which could have impacted George’s view of the 76ers.

Additionally, other teams with cap space and a need for veteran wing play and shooting, such as the Orlando Magic, might have entered the mix, further cooling talks between George and the 76ers.

While this could be part of the natural ebb and flow of negotiations, it remains possible that George and the 76ers might revisit discussions and reach an agreement later. For now, however, Joel Embiid’s recruitment efforts have not secured George for Philadelphia.



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