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Over time somehow, the NBA Summer became just as interesting as the regular season. I think this is because of LeBron. He was the story of 2010. Giving us plenty to talk about, and writers like Brian Windhorst a national career.

So here we are again. After four years, two (should have been three) MVP awards, four Finals appearances and two titles, LeBron James is set to be a free agent again.

But he isn’t the only story of this NBA Summer. Here’s what else is holding us over until next October:

Joel Embiid: Hakeem Olajuwon or Sam Bowie –

With no in between!

Embiid was the consensus number one pick…then he revealed a broken foot. Add that injury to his stress fractured back, and now you have even more intrigue in a loaded draft.

To me, Embiid’s teammate Andrew Wiggins should have been the number one pick all along. I love his potential, and I don’t trust Embiid’s lack of experience. I can write off Wiggins’ relative lack of production to Bill Self. After all, it turns out Self had two of the top three prospects on his team this year and couldn’t coach them to past the Round of 32.

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Embiid will be good. Wiggins will be better.

Who is Elfrid Payton? –

Apparently he is the next Damian Lillard.

The traditional numbers are there: Payton averaged 19 points, six rebounds and assists for an under-the-radar Louisiana-Lafayette team. And Payton has been so impressive in workouts that he is now being rumored at the eighth pick in the draft. Eighth! 8CFB1BF15D649E5A28152E133EA60B9C_787_442

I am unconvinced.

Payton is benefitting from the Lillard Effect. They are both small school point guards who put up great numbers. Lillard won the Rookie of the Year, and is turning into a great young point guard.

The problem is Eric Maynor followed a similar script and he…didn’t pan out.

Also, Payton averaged 3.6 turnovers in college. Can’t count the plusses without the minuses. I never watched Payton play. Maybe he needed to have the ball in his hands, artificially inflating all of his numbers.

Finally, his best skill in workouts seems to be that he tries hard. Can’t give participation medals out in the NBA.

Carmelo, Carmelo, Carmelo –

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Anthony followed through on his promise from October by opting out of his contract yesterday (seriously, how was that considered breaking news?). So now the speculation can start for real. Where will he go?

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Full disclosure: if the Knicks were good, you could consider me a Knick Hater. I don’t have anything against the team except their fans. You guys are ridiculously annoying.

That said, I don’t see how Anthony goes back to New York this summer. They aren’t built to win now, even in the terrible Eastern Conference. Derek Fisher may be a great coach eventually, but he’ll be overmatched to start with, and I’ll bet Anthony is ready to win now. He’s a decade into the league after all.

Chicago and Houston are better options right now, especially the Bulls since they also play in the horrible East. Put it together and I see Carmelo in a different jersey come October.

…that is, unless he likes money.

The (Second) Decision –

LeBron a’int leaving Miami.

Those are the stories that have my attention so far in this NBA Summer. What about you?

Get your Chris Broussard anyone else on in the comments below!