EuroLeague transfers and rumors: Joel Embiid gets an ultimatum from the French Basketball Federation
Joel Embiid is the most coveted international basketball free agent currently. The reigning MVP is desired by Team USA, France, and his birth country of Cameroon. The Sixers center is yet to decide who he will suit up for in the 2024 Olympics in Paris, and France has decided that he has until Oct. 10 to decide if it will be with Les Bleu’s. French basketball President Jean-Pierre Siutat gave Embiid a deadline before the NBA season tips-off.
In a vacuum, this makes sense. Siutat likely does not want to be answering questions about Embiid potentially joining the team every day between now and next summer, so he’s likely attempting to get it out of the way. Embiid would be a major addition for France, who had a very underwhelming performance at the 2023 FIBA World Cup where they were eliminated in the first phase of play following losses to Canada and Latvia. While the whole team was disappointing, Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert was among their worst summer performers. Embiid would be a significant upgrade, and give them a great chance of winning the gold medal on home soil.
The ultimatum does seem a little silly, though. Say Embiid doesn’t make a final decision on October 10. Then, next June, he decides he does want to play for France. Are they really going to tell him no, watch him suit up for Team USA, and then watch him bully Gober if the two sides meet? It would be stubborn, and perhaps this is a harmless move to appease press inquiries but if Siutat is being serious then it sounds like he already knows the answer.