CLEVELAND (AP) — As they search for a new coach, the Cavaliers are taking a close look at an intriguing player.
Kansas center Joel Embiid worked out Wednesday for the Cavs, who are trying to decide what to do with the No. 1 overall pick in this month’s NBA draft. The 7-foot Embiid, who has only been playing basketball for a few years, arrived in Cleveland on Tuesday night for his visit, the team confirmed. The Cavs are eager to put Embiid thorough medical physical as there have been concerns about the 18-year-old’s back.
Embiid missed the tail end of his freshman season with the Jayhawks because of what was described as a stress fracture in his lower back. Embiid did not attend the league’s pre-draft combine last month in Chicago, and his medical records were not released by the school. The Cavs don’t want to take any chances with a selection after last year’s top pick, forward Anthony Bennett, struggled during his first year after undergoing shoulder surgery.
Embiid is the first of the top prospects to visit the Cavs, who are expected to meet with Kansas swingman Andrew Wiggins and Duke forward Jabari Parker.
“Having fun in Cleveland,” Embiid wrote on his Twitter account, with a photo of a Cavaliers’ T-shirt.
In the meantime, the Cavs are in the fourth week of their coaching search. The team has had interviews with at least six known candidates, the most recent being former Cleveland All-Star guard and current Charlotte assistant Mark Price. The Cavs are expected to have a second meeting with Clippers assistant Alvin Gentry, who previously worked with Cleveland general manager David Griffin in Arizona.
Ideally, the Cavs would like to have a new coach in place by the June 26 draft, but have not put a timetable on hiring their third coach in three years.
Griffin has said he would be open to listening to trade offers for the top pick.