Knicks Looking to Pair Sixers’ Star With Ascending Guard: Report

The intentions behind the Knicks' interest in Sixers star Joel Embiid have been revealed

Getty The intentions behind the Knicks' interest in Sixers star Joel Embiid have been revealed

Joel Embiid is being targeted by the New York Knicks as the potential second half of a 1-2 Big Apple punch alongside budding guard Jalen Brunson — this, at least, according to the New York Post’s Bridget Riley.

“The Knicks are on the hunt again for a franchise-altering and championship-caliber star to pair with Jalen Brunson, and reports indicate they may be keeping an eye on Philadelphia 76ers star center Joel Embiid,” Riley wrote.

Embiid has been deemed as a potential trade target for the Sixers in the event the front office pivoted to a rebuild after a James Harden free agency departure. New York has been one of the most frequently-linked teams to Embiid in a trade.

Now we know who the Knicks plan on building their team around in the event the franchise is able to swing a blockbuster deal for the reigning league MVP.

Julius Randle Not Included in Knicks’ Future Plans

A player whose name was conspicuous by its absence in Riley’s vision for the Knicks’ future plans is two-time All-Star Julius Randle. While Randle’s counting stats read spectacularly (25 points, 10 rebounds, four assists), New York fans have been burned by the big man’s postseason failures time and again.

During the 2023 postseason, which included a six-game series against the Heat and five-game series against the Cavaliers, Randle had an abhorrent shooting slash (37/26/71) and saved one of his worst games for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. On May 12 with New York’s season on the line, Randle shot 3/14 overall and 1/7 from the 3-point line while turning the ball over three times — which was somehow tied for his lowest turnover total in a single game during the entire Miami series.

Evidently, Randle is not seen as the same building block Brunson is. It’s unclear whether or not the Sixers would be interested in taking back Randle in a deal, though. The Knicks may need to find a third team to take back the $82 million left on his contract.

Sixers Can Capitalize on Tobias Harris’ New York Ties

An Embiid trade could be a true slate cleaner for the Sixers, with the opportunity to offload the $61 million owed to Tobias Harris and P.J. Tucker. Harris in particular makes sense as a Knicks target due to his ties to the Metropolitan Area. A Dix Hills, Long Island native, Harris was Mr. New York Basketball in 2010, starring at both Half Hollow Hills High School West and Long Island Lutheran during his high school career.

For many Sixers fans, Harris represents the ill-fated decision to pass on Jimmy Butler in 2019 free agency. That decision directly led to Philadelphia’s elimination from the 2022 postseason. Moving on from Harris could be the turning of the page of a failed “Process” era, and moving him to his home state would be a good gesture following four and a half years of service.

Any Embiid scenario involving the Knicks would involve many moving parts, but it’s not hard to imagine one of those being a homecoming for the Long Island native.