Joel Embiid's the reigning NBA MVP, so naturally, it's a pretty big deal if — and for whom — he plays in next summer's Paris Olympics.
And, as happens with pretty much anything that's considered a big deal these days (and plenty of stuff that isn't), sportsbooks are letting you bet on it, posting Joel Embiid Olympic team odds for Paris 2024.
Embiid, a native of Cameroon, is eligible to play for his home country, but also France and the USA, with the latter two having already qualified for the 2024 Olympics.
With France having set a fairly strict deadline for Embiid to commit, expect to hear about this in the media churn over the next couple of weeks. If you're inclined to place a bet, here are the odds for Joel Embiid's 2024 Olympic team.
Joel Embiid Team France Olympic odds
|Will Embiid play for France?||Odds|
Odds as of September 26, 2023.
Normally a contender in any international basketball competition, France bombed out of the recent FIBA World Cup, finishing an embarrassing 18th, behind such powerhouses as Georgia and South Sudan.
Naturally, there was a call to arms for the country's talent to represent them at the Olympic games they're hosting next summer, with Joel Embiid drawing the bulk of the attention.
France apparently expects an answer by October 10th, putting Embiid on a timeline to commit before the NBA season even gets underway. Considering the several months of grind ahead of him — and, ideally, a deep playoff run — it's a big ask for a player who's spent virtually his entire career battling nagging injuries.
Joel Embiid Team USA Olympic odds
|Will Embiid play for USA?||Odds|
Odds as of September 26, 2023.
Speaking of disappointing FIBA World Cup finishes, Team USA, who spent the entire tournament as comfortable outright favorites, failed to medal, sparking its own panic for eligible talent to commit to Paris.
Again, Embiid's name stands out, particularly as a dominant big man who could plug the rebounding hole that perhaps most notoriously plagued the Americans this summer.
There may be less pride involved in suiting up for a powerhouse country that doesn't represent his lineage, but the ultimatum France has put Embiid up to may limit his options when he's ready to make a decision.
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I think the market is off here.
Embiid has never played for an international basketball team, largely out of a need to preserve his often-injured body. While there's been mutual interest between both he and the French team, it feels insane that they're expecting him to commit before even setting foot on an NBA court this season.
It's a desperate move from France, who are understandably licking their wounds after a disastrous World Cup, and looking to solidify their rotation for 2024. But, much like an overbearing partner in a relationship, this seems like a stern ultimatum more likely to push the object of their affection into someone else's arms.
The Americans have less of a need for Embiid from a talent perspective, but likely more from a fit lens, after international bruisers bludgeoned their thin front line on the boards. And, most importantly, they're not putting him on the clock.
Dozens of things could happen between now and Paris to make Embiid playing basketball for the bulk of the summer more or less palatable, physically. And for a guy with his injury history, it seems outlandish to assume that he'll commit to an international team for the first time in his career, under duress.
With the minus-money options offering poor value in what seems more like a coin-flip decision, I'll take Embiid to tag along with Team USA after he's gauged his health heading into the new year, and France's unreasonable deadline has passed.
My best bet: Team USA (+200)