Nikola Jokic Defends Sixers’ Joel Embiid After Finals Berth

Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid

Getty Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets, Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers

Despite being a two-time MVP and helping the Denver Nuggets make their first NBA Finals as a franchise, Nikola Jokic believed that Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid deserved the MVP award this year during his postgame press conference on May 22.

“I don’t think about MVPs anymore,” Jokic said. “I think people are just mean in saying Embiid shouldn’t have won it. He should have won it. I think he was playing extremely tough basketball all season…He was really amazing in 82 games, or how many games he played.”

Embiid played in 66 games during the 2022-23 season, which was enough games to warrant him winning the award regardless. However, Jokic has gone further in the playoffs than Embiid has in their careers, as he has made two conference finals and has guided the Nuggets to their very first NBA Finals as a franchise. Embiid, on the other hand, has yet to make it past the Eastern Conference Semifinals since first getting there with the Sixers back in 2018.

Insider Says There’s ‘No Legs’ to Joel Embiid Trade Rumors

After Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Harden was expected to go back to the Houston Rockets on May 19, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reported that the New York Knicks have interest in acquiring Embiid and how that interest has only gotten stronger.

“Been told since midseason that Joel Embiid is the guy to watch for the Knicks, and Philly’s playoff flameout only intensified that belief,” Bondy wrote.

NBA Insider Marc Stein revealed in a Substack chat with fans that, while there are no legs to a possible Embiid-to-Knicks deal at the present time, he admitted that it could change.

“Embiid to New York is strictly in the media chatter phase as we speak. There are no legs to it … YET. Could that change? Of course,” Stein wrote.

Embiid has yet to ask to be traded away by the Sixers, but Harden leaving for the Rockets may change that.

Kendrick Perkins Suggests Sixers Go After Kyrie Irving

With the uncertainty surrounding Harden staying or leaving, Kendrick Perkins suggested that the Sixers go after controversial NBA star Kyrie Irving as Joel Embiid’s no. 2.

“If I’m Joel Embiid, I’m watching to see what happens because I would actually love to see Kyrie Irving in Philadelphia with Joel Embiid,” Perkins said on the May 19 episode of ESPN’s First Take.

When told that the Sixers won’t have the cap room to add someone like Irving, Perkins said that Daryl Morey is someone who could make the necessary adjustments to add Irving.

“They could figure out a way to make it work. They have some pieces. We talk about Daryl Morey being the ultimate, brilliant mind of a GM. He could move some pieces that figure out a way to get Kyrie Irving in there if he actually wanted. Joel Embiid says, ‘I want Kyrie Irving,’ then they would need to figure out how to get him in that damn facility.”

Irving is one of the NBA’s most efficient scorers, but he is not the playmaker that Harden is, which could impact Embiid’s game should the two pair up.