With James Harden reportedly expected to return to the Houston Rockets this summer, many will pay attention to what that means for Joel Embiid‘s future with the Philadelphia 76ers. Embiid has not made a public trade request, but Harden’s departure could change that, and there have been rumors that Embiid just might.
In a Substack chat with fans, NBA Insider Marc Stein was asked how strong the rumblings were that Embiid would push his way out of Philly and be traded to the New York Knicks. Stein replied saying that while there’s not much to it at the moment, it could change over time.
“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.
The Knicks are coming off a playoff run in which they made it to the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the furthest they’ve gone since 2013. They have matching contracts to offer for Embiid, as well as young talent and expendable first-round picks. However, there could be qualms in a possible trade, starting with trading the league’s reigning MVP to a division rival.
Embiid-Knicks Trade Rumor Spurned From James Harden
After Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Harden was expected to go back to the Rockets on May 19, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reported that the Knicks have kept their eye on Embiid, and how the Sixers’ most recent playoff elimination has only fueled their interest.
“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.
Bondy admitted he wasn’t sure how the two teams would work out a deal when asked.
“That I have no idea. It would be very complicated and require many things to happen that are not in Knicks control,” Bondy wrote.
Stein was originally asked by a fan about Embiid because of Bondy’s report. While Stein stated that it’s only media chatter, he did not refute that a trade may not happen.
Kyrie Irving Suggested as Joel Embiid’s Running Mate
Kendrick Perkins suggested that the Sixers go after controversial NBA star Kyrie Irving, who will be a free agent this offseason.
“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.
Brian Windhorst then informed Perkins that the Sixers won’t have the cap space to give Irving a max contract even with Harden leaving. In response, Perkins said that Sixers’ President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey could still make the necessary moves to get Irving to play for the Sixers.
“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.”