Joel Embiid loves Los Angeles. You don't need to read between the lines on his Twitter feed to know that.
While in the City of Angels for an appointment with a back specialist, Embiid tweeted his adoration for L.A.:
I want to live in LA so bad #beautiful— Joel-Hans Embiid (@jojo_embiid) March 9, 2014
And he's not the only top prospect angling toward the Los Angeles Lakers. According to the Sporting News (via CBS' Matt Moore), some executives are worried Dante Exum may "force" his way to the Lakers.
He could be a nice consolation if they're unable to land Embiid, who unfortunately got some bad news following his appointment with the doctor.
Yahoo! Sports' Pat Forde shared the results:
Joel Embiid stress fracture confirmed by California specialist, per KU release. Out indefinitely. That's depressing.— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) March 11, 2014
Then The Kansas City Star's Rustin Dodd added a timeline:
Joel Embiid out for the Big 12 tournament and likely the first weekend of the NCAA tourney, Bill Self says in statement.— Rustin Dodd (@rustindodd) March 11, 2014
Unless Embiid's back turns into a lingering issue, or he returns too soon and aggravates it, this injury shouldn't hurt his draft stock.
Embiid isn't just the best big man in the 2014 draft class, he's the top overall prospect on the big board of ESPN's Chad Ford.
He's also No. 1 for Bleacher Report's draft guru Jonathan Wasserman, who said:
The thing to me that separates Embiid from teammate Andrew Wiggins, and even Duke's Jabari Parker or Kentucky's Julius Randle, is that his presence alone makes teammates better.
You hear that cliche tossed around all the time, but with Embiid, you can actually see the difference he makes on a play-to-play basis, even if it doesn't result in a point, assist, board or block.
The Los Angeles Lakers could use that kind of difference maker.
And considering their current state, there's a chance Embiid could find himself wearing purple and gold in a few months regardless of Monday's news:
Don't think the NBA guys will overreact to Embiid's back injury. Drummond suffered stress fracture in his back last yr & he seems quite fine— Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass) March 11, 2014
If the season ended today, the Lakers would have the fourth-worst record in the NBA, giving them an 11.9 percent chance to land the No. 1 pick according to Tankathon.com. And with Pau Gasol's contract expiring, the Lakers will be in the market for a center.
Embiid can be a franchise cornerstone around which the team can build as we head into the twilight of Kobe Bryant's career.
I've said it all season, Bryant can take whomever L.A. drafts under his wing and mentor him the way David Robinson did for Tim Duncan.
Whether that's Embiid, Exum, or some other prospect remains to be seen.
However things shake out, somebody will probably be pretty happy to play in front of the celebrities at Staples Center and for one of the most storied organizations in professional sports.
Andy Bailey covers the NBA for Bleacher Report.