NBA Trade Rumors: NY Knicks Want Joel Embiid

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Posted on: May 18, 2023, 10:44h. 

Last updated on: May 18, 2023, 11:24h.

Less than 24 hours after the Philadelphia 76ers fired head coach Doc Rivers, the New York Knicks were mentioned in trade rumors involving 76ers center Joel Embiid.

Joel Embiid
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid throws down a two-handed dunk against the New York Knicks at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. (Image: Getty)

During a recent episode of the “Lowe Post” podcast with Zach Lowe, ESPN’s Tim McMahon reported that the Knicks are interested in exploring a trade for Embiid.

A trade between the 76ers and Knicks seems farfetched, because it’s rare to see division rivals swap players. Then again, the 76ers set a precedent prior to the 2022 trade deadline. They were involved in a high-profile trade last season that involved sending disgruntled point guard Ben Simmons to the Brooklyn Nets for guard James Harden.

The 76ers earned the #3 seed in the 2023 Eastern Conference playoffs. They were +900 odds to win the 2022-23 NBA championship, according to DraftKings at the start of the postseason.

The 76ers were knocked out of the playoffs in the second round for the third-straight season under Rivers, which is one of the reasons why he was relieved of his duties as head coach.

Several strong candidates are available to replace Rivers, including Mike Budenholzer, Nick Nurse, Frank Vogel, and Mike D’Antoni. Would the 76ers make a controversial decision to reboot the entire team and actually trade the reigning MVP?

Embiid led the NBA in scoring this season, averaging 33.1 points per game. He won the 2022 NBA MVP after losing out to Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic in the previous two seasons.

Philly’s Future Depends on James Harden

Harden is expected to decline a player option, worth $36.5 million and explore free agency. He could return to the 76ers, or bounce. The future of the 76ers hinges upon where Harden ends up next season.

A report out of Philadelphia suggested Harden would like to reunite with former teammate Kevin Durant. The two were teammates with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Brooklyn Nets. But would they reunite a third time with the Phoenix Suns?

The Houston Rockets were one of the worst teams in the NBA this season. But they have a young roster and have more than $60 million in cap space. The Rockets could offer Harden a four-year deal worth $201.7 million to return to his old team, where he won the 2018 MVP.

The Orlando Magic are the only other team with enough cap space to offer Harden a max contract. If he wants to play for a legitimate contender and chase a championship, then he’ll have to accept a below-market contract.

Daryl Morey, general manager of the 76ers, has close ties to Harden dating back to their days together in Houston. Morey indicated he’ll do everything within his power to re-sign Harden and keep him in Philadelphia.

Shake Up Pending for Knicks

The Knicks missed the playoffs last season, but finished in fifth place in the Eastern Conference this season after they acquired point guard Jalen Brunson in free agency.

The Knicks knocked out the #4 Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs, beating the team that snatched guard Donovan Mitchell away from the Knicks last off-season. They were trying to add Mitchell in a trade with the Utah Jazz, but the Cavs outbid the Knicks and landed Mitchell.

The short-handed Miami Heat secured the #8 seed through the Play-In Tournament and picked off the Knicks in the conference semifinals. The Knicks were exposed during that disappointing playoff series, especially forward Julius Randle.

Randle earned All-NBA honors this season by averaging 25.1 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. However, he struggled during his two postseason stints with the Knicks. He averaged only 18.0 ppg in the 2021 playoffs. He averaged 16.6 points and 9.3 rebounds per game in the 2023 playoffs while shooting only 25.8% from 3-point range.

The Knicks face a difficult decision with Randle. They can stick with the All-Star forward or attempt to trade him with three more years remaining on his contract. In a perfect situation, they could include Randle in a trade package for Embiid.

The addition of Embiid could make the Knicks a legitimate title contender next season. If the Knicks can work out a trade for Embiid, they would see a huge spike in the 2023-24 NBA futures market.

Knicks, Mavs, Heat, Nets Eyeing Embiid in a Trade

The Knicks have a combination of draft capital and young players to land add another superstar on the trade market. General manager Leon Rose stockpiled multiple future first-round picks with the intention to use them for Mitchell. The current plan is to use those picks to add another top-end star.

The Knicks also have several trade-worthy young players, including point guard Immanuel Quickley, shooting guard Quentin Grimes, or forward Obi Toppin.

If the Knicks were serious about a trade for a reigning MVP like Embiid, then they would have to include multiple first-round draft picks and include heavy-contract players like Randle,  swingman RJ Barrett, and/or shooting guard Evan Fournier.

Embiid has also been linked to the Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat, and Brooklyn Nets.

The Heat lack a true center, which would allow big man Bam Adebayo to play his desired position of power forward. The Heat are currently in the Eastern Conference finals and took a 1-0 series lead against the Boston Celtics.

The Mavs also face a huge decision on whether or not to re-sign guard Kyrie Irving. The combo of Irving and Luka Dončić failed to qualify for the playoffs, so the Mavs could seek a more complimentary player for Dončić. The Mavs also need a center, so Embiid would be a good fit.

The Nets rebooted their team after their Durant/Irving experiment was a miserable failure. They acquired several solid starters in Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, and Spencer Dinwiddie after trading Durant to the Suns and dealing Irving to the Mavs at the deadline. Embiid could also be a perfect fit for the Nets.

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