Analyst Forecasts Gloomy Future For Sixers’ Star Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid

Getty Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers went into this season with championship expectations, but that’s been their goal for the past few years, yet the furthest they’ve gone in that time is the second round. Marcus Hayes of The Philadelphia Inquirer believes that if they have a similar fate this coming postseason, Embiid will want out.

“If the Sixers don’t get past the second round of the playoffs this year, then they will implode,” Hayes said. “Embiid, who adopted “The Process” as a nickname — fittingly, too, since, like The Process, he took ages to develop and remains incomplete — will surely force a trade to a franchise that actually understands basketball.”

Hayes added that Embiid has hinted at wanting a trade in the past on multiple occasions.

“Don’t think Embiid will want out? He’s been dropping clues that Dr. Watson could identify. Embiid intimated in a tweet in May, as the Heat struggled after dispatching the Sixers in the playoffs, that he’d like to join his buddy (Jimmy) Butler in Miami: “Miami needs another star.” He then told Yahoo Sports in December, ‘Sixers fans, they want to trade me. … I do believe that. They want to trade me.’

“Which, of course, gives him a reason for wanting to be traded. It’s a bogus reason — he is beloved in Philly far beyond his value or his accomplishments — but it frames his case.”

As of now, Embiid has never publicly stated that he wants out, but that could change if the Sixers fail to reach the Eastern Conference Finals again.

Analyst Asks What James Harden’s Departure Could Impact Embiid

Besides postseason success, something that could also possibly impact Embiid’s desire to stay with the Sixers could be whether the team retains James Harden or not past this season. ESPN’s Zach Lowe delved into the potential long-term ramifications of both failing to advance in the playoffs and losing Harden on Embiid.

“There hasn’t been enough discussion of what the Sixers have riding on the next few months. They have not been to the conference finals in 22 years. They dodged the thorny sides of the bracket in each of the last two seasons, and still crumbled in the second round. Harden can enter free agency this summer. The Sixers (as of now) would not have cap space to replace him.

“How might Embiid react to another early loss and the subsequent departure of Harden?”

While Harden could potentially be a free agent this summer, Embiid’s contract runs through 2027, meaning that they would have time to weigh their options whether Embiid demands a trade or not.

Rockets Believe They Can Get Harden Back

On an episode of Brian Windhorst’s Hoop Collective podcast, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon revealed that there’s a chance that Harden may in fact return to the Houston Rockets.

“Not just that Houston wants to, but Houston believes it is a legitimate possibility and that’s not coming out of thin air,” MacMahon explained. “James Harden still spends a lot of time in Houston. Spends his summers in Houston. Works out at the Rockets’ facility on a regular basis. It’s a very real possibility. And Harden, by the way, never shot it down. He just said ‘I don’t know where that came from.’”

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