Controversial NBA Star Floated as Possible Running Mate for Sixers’ Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid

Getty Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers

With James Harden potentially on his way out from the Philadelphia 76ers, former NBA Champion and ESPN Analyst Kendrick Perkins brought up one of the NBA’s most controversial stars to replace Harden as Joel Embiid‘s new running mate.

“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 suddenly have $30 million in cap space if and when Harden jumps ship, to which Perkins added how they could make it possible 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 has involved himself in some controversy over the last season or so when he refused to get vaccinated following New York’s mandate and when he shared a link to an antisemitic film on his personal Twitter, prompting a suspension from his then-team, the Brooklyn Nets.

Irving will enter the 2023 NBA Offseason as an unrestricted free agent after finishing the season with the Dallas Mavericks.

Perkins Calls Out Sixers, James Harden for Doc Rivers’ Firing

On that same episode of ESPN’s First Take, Perkins said that Embiid should want Harden out of Philadelphia and should even want a trade for how they handled the Doc Rivers’ firing.

“To be honest with you, I think Joel Embiid should want Harden to walk. I think he deserves better than James Harden, and if it comes to Harden making the decision on who the coach is gonna be, then I think Joel Embiid should force his way out because here’s the thing, it’s bad enough that they didn’t even consult or even ask Joel Embiid about Doc Rivers or whether or not he wanted to keep Doc Rivers, that’s insulting right there because this is your league MVP.”

Perkins added that Embiid should not trust Morey after what he’s done to appease Harden.

“This is your franchise guy. He has led the league in scoring two years in a row. You at least have to ask him (about Rivers). This is not about James Harden, and this is the problem that I have. If I’m Joel Embiid, there’s no way in hell I’m trusting Daryl Morey with the love affair that he has with James Harden, that he’s gonna do right by Joel Embiid.”

James Harden Wants to Be ‘Treated Like a God’

Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that being worshipped in Houston is among the reasons why Harden is expected to return to the Houston Rockets this offseason.

“Sources have said his interest in returning to Houston is mutual and not a ploy to get a lucrative deal out of the Sixers” Pompey said. “His mother still lives in the city. He has several business ventures there. And, as one source said, ‘he’s treated like a god in Houston.'”