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Batum on Embiid potentially joining French national team: ‘Would you say no to the MVP?’

Apparently Clippers veteran Nicolas Batum knows ball because he sounds like he wants Joel Embiid to play for the French National team at the Olympics next summer.

Philadelphia 76ers v LA Clippers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

Clippers forward Nic Batum knows ball, do you?

The French National team star’s squad struggled during the FIBA World Cup in Jakarta, Indonesia. A stunning two-point loss to Latvia recently eliminated them even before the knockout stage.

France had entered the World Cup games ranked No. 5 in the world by FIBA. So they’re beyond disappointed with the outcome. They won silver at the 2022 EuroBasket tournament and nearly beat the USA during the Tokyo Olympics. They won the bronze at the 2019 World Cup. They’ve been one of the best teams in the world for the better part of the last four years.

Batum, a 15-year NBA vet, recently got honest admitting:

“I’ve never been ashamed with this jersey, but this is the first time I’m ashamed,” Batum said. “I’m scared to go home because we let a lot of people down. A lot of people believed in us to do something special. We didn’t do it.”

And this now viral reaction by Batum is pretty fun.

Joel Embiid, the NBA’s reigning MVP, is eligible to play for his native country Cameroon, along with both France and the US after securing citizenship to all three nations not long ago.

So Batum’s reply is intriguing as many folks wonder which flag the Sixers’ superstar might decide to rep next summer.

Batum’s flattery is a far cry from fellow countryman Rudy Gobert’s message last winter. Gobert, the most high-profile member of Team France, then told The Athletic’s Joe Vardon “it has to come from [Embiid]. You are either all in, or you’re not. You can’t just show up.”

Gobert did note that a trio of himself, Joel and Victor Wembanyama would be pretty awesome, but still, it’s not exactly a resounding endorsement, is it? It reads more like a warning to not half-ass this thing, buddy. It’s quite unlike Batum’s exceedingly charming and definitive return-fire question of “would you say no to the MVP?” Touché as they say in Biarritz.

I mean Rudy, lol... you do know that if Joel showed up for ya’ll and even just like half-assed it he could still provide an upgrade over your one-way playing ass, right? You might want to win a couple more qualifiers in the World Games before adding your own qualifiers to whether or not Joel f—g Embiid can help your team!

Anyway, the other funny element of this is that I cannot help but wonder if Batum has actually made any recent inquiries about moving to the greater Philadelphia area at some point this Fall or Winter. With James Harden’s trade request specifically naming Batum’s L.A. Clippers, many of us have plopped the French stretch-forward’s tidily expiring $11.7M salary into all of our trade machine concoctions.

So there is a world where Batum is able to get a jump on building some on-court chemistry playing alongside said MVP in red, white and blue this coming NBA season before the two don some (checks notes) blue, white and red at the Olympics.

So yeah, if Joel picks France, Rudy may want to work on his handle, perimeter defense and jumper in order to maintain a starting role. Now that I think about it, I guess I kinda get where Rudy may be coming from. I guess he’d rather lose to the US than maybe win gold playing the DeAndre Jordan role for Team France.

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