How far will Embiid fall? Teams willing to gamble on injured center

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As the anticipation of a frenzied free-agent summer has almost made Thursday night's draft an afterthought, one key point remains of profound interest around NBA front offices: How far will Joel Embiid fall?

Widely expected to be the No. 1 overall pick by Cleveland until a fracture was discovered in the Kansas center's foot last week, Embiid now is viewed in front-office circles as going somewhere between the third and seventh picks. Several teams, including the Sacramento Kings at No. 8, have called teams ahead of them in the lottery to propose potential trades to move up and select Embiid, a league source with knowledge of the conversations told

Where Embiid ultimately is selected isn't the only question. Which teams have his medical report is an even bigger one.

League sources confirmed that the Cavaliers conducted the physical on Embiid while the Bucks, holding the second overall pick, did the medical work on Duke's Jabari Parker. The teams exchanged the reports. Embiid's injury was discovered during the course of his workout with Cleveland.

After news of the injury -- and the subsequent surgery and 4-6 month recovery timetable -- teams holding picks behind Milwaukee have been forced to re-evaluate their draft strategy and risk tolerance. The Sixers (No. 3), Magic (No. 4), Jazz (No. 5), Celtics (No. 6) and Lakers (No. 7) are all considered potential landing spots for Embiid. An Eastern Conference executive said Wednesday that Embiid, despite the medical red flags, would not get past the Kings at No. 8 -- and probably wouldn't fall that far.

Don't expect Joel Embiid to get past the Kings at 8, if he even drops that far. (USATSI)
Don't expect Joel Embiid to get past the Kings at 8, if he even drops that far. (USATSI)
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Ken Berger began covering the NBA when Kobe Bryant was a rookie. Somehow, he'll outlast him. Ken has multiple top-10 finishes in the APSE writing contest and one championship to his credit - the 2015 Metropolitan... Full Bio

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