Morning sports update: Joel Embiid doesn’t care that the Sixers missed out on LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George

"I want to be better than those guys that were mentioned, if I’m not already better than them."

Joel Embiid
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid looks on against the Boston Celtics during Game 2 of their second-round series. –Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The Red Sox open a four-game series against the Yankees at 7:10 p.m. Thursday at Fenway Park. Here’s what else you need to know as you get caught up on sports headlines this morning:

Joel Embiid explained why he didn’t care the Sixers missed out on LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George

Brett Brown entered this offseason set on finding a difference-maker to pair with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. The Philadelphia 76ers head coach said he was “star hunting” — noting the clock is ticking on the Sixers’ much-heralded process.

“The timeline is now,” Brown said.

The Sixers struck out during the NBA’s frenzied open season. LeBron James went to L.A., Paul George stuck with the Thunder, and Kawhi Leonard ended up with one of Philadelphia’s main conference rivals. However, Philadelphia’s 7-foot center isn’t too worried about his team’s summer.

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“When my season ended, there was a lot of talk about adding guys. I literally did not really care because I want to get better,” Embiid said, per Philly.com. “I want to be better than those guys that were mentioned, if I’m not already better than them.”

Embiid averaged 22.9 points and 11 rebounds per game last season for the Sixers, which won 52 contests in the regular season before falling to the Celtics in the second-round of the playoffs. His goals for next season are simple: compete for the franchise’s first ring since 1983 and become the first center to win the MVP award since 2000, when Shaquille O’Neal took it home.

“I want to win the MVP. I feel like at the end of the day it might be an individual award, but when I play better, the team also does,” Embiid told Philly.com. “I feel like if I’m an MVP candidate or if I win the MVP, that means we are on another level.”

To reach that level — without a superstar summer addition — he plans to approach the season with the same mindset the Sixers brought to last season.

“We won 52 games, which nobody thought would happen, we won 16 games in a row, we thought that we had a chance to go to the Finals,” Embiid said in the interview. “The approach doesn’t change. Still the same. We’re just going to do our thing.”

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Philadelphia will reportedly open its season with a primetime matchup against the Celtics on Oct. 16.

Everything you need to know about the Red Sox-Yankees series: A look at the pitching matchups, under-the-radar players, statistical leaders, and those who’ll be missing in action when the rivals meet at Fenway Park. (Boston.com)

What you need to know about the NFL’s new helmet rule: The new targeting rule makes it illegal for any player to lower his head and initiate contact with his helmet. The rule applies to offensive and defensive players anywhere on the field. (Boston.com)

4 things we learned from Patriots training camp on Wednesday: In Foxborough, Tom Brady made his presence felt, two players left practice, and Rob Gronkowski really wanted to say what he’s getting Tom Brady for his birthday — but couldn’t. (Boston.com)

Daily highlight:

Bruins
Zdeno Chara to miss 4-6 weeks
November 17, 2018 | 11:18 AM
Red Sox
Mookie Betts wins AL MVP
November 15, 2018 | 6:57 PM