Kawhi Leonard Floated as Possible Trade Package for Sixers’ Joel Embiid: Exec

Joel Embiid, Kawhi Leonard

Getty Kawhi Leonard of the LA Clippers, Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers

Since their season ended, there have been no reports that the Philadelphia 76ers plan to trade reigning MVP Joel Embiid or that Embiid wants out. Should it come to that, an NBA GM told Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney what it would take to pry Embiid away from the Sixers and who would fit the bill.

“It would have to be a star, a proven star,” the GM said. “They want one player back, an even swap. There are not many who fit that with Embiid. Kawhi (Leonard) might be the only guy who really fits, a guy they (the Clippers) might be willing to move off of and who would be in the same category as Embiid, a guy (Morey) would even consider. I am not even sure Paul George would fit. It would have to be Kawhi. That is just my guess. That’s how strong they are on Joel.”

The GM added that because he would only want a star in return for Embiid, that’s also why the 2023 MVP is not going anywhere.

“Daryl Morey wants star players, that has always been his M.O,” the GM told Deveney. “He is not going to trade Embiid for parts or for upside. He can find those on his own. Forget it. The Sixers probably won’t trade Joel Embiid as long as Daryl Morey is there.”

Nikola Jokic Says Joel Embiid Deserved MVP

After helping the Denver Nuggets make their first NBA Finals, Nikola Jokic defended Embiid for winning the league’s MVP award after Jokic won the award the previous two seasons.

“I don’t think about MVPs anymore,” Jokic said during his postgame press conference. “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 66 games during the 2022-23 season. Despite the two of them being neck-and-neck in the MVP chase, it’s clear that Jokic respects Embiid as a player and holds no ill will towards him for preventing Jokic from getting the MVP for the third consecutive season.

Insider Says Joel Embiid-Knicks Rumor Has No Legs

NBA Insider Marc Stein revealed in a Substack chat with fans that there are no legs to the New York Knicks potentially trading for Embiid, but that could change in due 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.

Another league executive explained to Deveney why the Sixers don’t want what the Knicks have to offer in a potential deal.

“I’d say that is a pipe dream, but I am not sure what pipe that would come out of,” the exec told Deveney. “The Knicks have picks, that is their asset. Philly is not looking to give up the MVP of the league for draft picks. That’s not their mode right now. They’re not desperate. Think again.”

Another exec explained that what the Knicks would offer is not what the Sixers would want.

“The Knicks want to add, they want a star, but they’re not going to be unrealistic. Embiid is unrealistic for them. They could give up, what, R.J. Barrett and Mitchell Robinson and maybe Julius Randle? Philly won’t do that, not this year or next year.:

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