Should the Sacramento Kings trade up to pick Joel Embiid?

Joel Embiid makes his move against the Baylor Bears (Cooper Neill/Getty Images North America))

Despite health concerns, Joel Embiid remains one of several prizes in this year’s draft.  With the No. 8 pick, the Sacramento Kings may not be within range to select the 20-year-old center from Cameroon.  However, they have reportedly made calls to make selecting him a reality.

According to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, the Kings are one of several teams exploring ways to move up in the draft in order to pick Embiid.  The former Kansas Jayhawks center has seen his stock take a hit after learning he has a stress fracture in his right foot.  Embiid underwent successful surgery last Friday and is expected to recover within four to six months.

Two teams are known to have Embiid’s medical report.  The Cleveland Cavaliers conducted the physical on the 20-year-old center when they hosted him for a workout two weeks ago.  The Cavs exchanged that information with the Milwaukee Bucks, who in turn forwarded Cleveland a medical report on Duke forward Jabari Parker.  Whether any other teams besides the Cavs and Bucks have the results of Embiid’s physical remains in question, according to CBS Sports.

Before his surgery, Embiid was a strong contender to go first overall to the Cavaliers.  However, some draft experts now project him going as high as third to the Philadelphia 76ers or as low as sixth to the Boston Celtics.  CBS Sports reports that he would be unlikely to fall past the Kings at No. 8 if he were to slide that far.

“I really don’t know,” Kings general manager Pete D’Alessandro said Monday when asked how Embiid’s status affects the order of the draft.  “I think a lot of people are speculating.  In any event, you really feel good about the overall talent in this draft and that includes him and a number of other guys.  I don’t know if it shakes it up as much as it jumbles it maybe a little.”

Where Embiid is drafted is anyone’s guess at this point.  Teams will have to weigh the costs and benefits of taking a player like Embiid who has high upside and talent, but a well-chronicled history injury.  In his lone season at Kansas, Embiid also missed the NCAA Tournament after suffering a stress fracture in his back.

“I think the farther he drops, the less the risk for the team,” Kings assistant general manager Mike Brattz said recently of Embiid.  “I think if things just fall to order, the top four, five guys are going to go in the same position they were in anyway.”

If the Kings are to move up in the order, one would presume that they’d include Ben McLemore in a potential trade.  McLemore is entering the second season of a four-year rookie deal and is scheduled to make $3 million in the 2014-15 campaign.  Outside of McLemore, the Kings don’t have much else of high value unless they explore bigger trades involving either Rudy Gay or DeMarcus Cousins.  Because both players make large salaries next year, trades to get Embiid involving Gay or Cousins appear unlikely.

That the Kings would allegedly try to move up in the draft isn’t anything new.  Last year, the Kings reportedly made overtures to teams like the Phoenix Suns about moving up in order to select McLemore.  Instead, the 21-year-old guard out of Kansas wound up falling to them at the No. 7 pick anyway.

Should the Kings make a trade to move up and select Embiid?  Weigh in on our poll and leave ideas on what they could give up in the comment section below.

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Jonathan Santiago
Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.

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