NBA insider Marc Stein offered some more intel surrounding Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid and the teams that would be interested in him if he were to request a trade.
It was recently reported that the New York Knicks and Miami Heat have been keeping tabs on Embiid in case he requests a trade from Philly. The Sixers have had a rough offseason with guard James Harden not seeing eye to eye with the organization after he opted into the final season of his contract.
James Harden told NBA investigators that he called Daryl Morey a "liar" after Morey said he would trade him "quickly" after opting into his $35.6M deal for the 2023-24 season, per @ShamsCharania
76ers’ plan on keeping James Harden on the roster 👀 pic.twitter.com/rCoT16mecH
— Ahn Fire Digital (@AhnFireDigital) August 21, 2023
Stein shared that Embiid and Jimmy Butler remain close, which could be a key connection to get the reigning MVP to Miami.
“I do believe that the Knicks and Heat are among the teams monitoring the situation because they would wish to be at the front of the line if Embiid did ask out,” Stein wrote.
“Both Knicks president Leon Rose and his top aide William Wesley were at Embiid’s recent wedding and, while true that Rose and Wesley used to represent Embiid as player agents, it has been suggested that their attendance was ‘not nothing.’
“Heat star Jimmy Butler, meanwhile, remains close to Embiid in the wake of their mere six-ish months as teammates together in Philadelphia.”
In the 2022-23 season, Embiid captured his first MVP award while leading the Sixers to the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.
He averaged 33.1 points per game to capture his second straight scoring title. He also pitched in 10.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.7 blocks per game while shooting 54.8 percent from the field and 33.0 percent from beyond the arc.
The Sixers certainly wouldn’t want to move Embiid as they look to compete for an NBA title, but if the star center asks out, Philly may be forced to eventually honor that request.
It was recently reported that many people around the league believe that Embiid will request a trade from the franchise sooner rather than later.
It’s unclear what Miami would need to give up in a hypothetical Embiid deal, but the reigning MVP could be a great backup plan for the team if it can’t land guard Damian Lillard in a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers this offseason.
Philly hasn’t had the playoff success it has hoped for under Embiid, failing to make an Eastern Conference Finals appearance with him on the roster.
Last season, Philly led the Boston Celtics 3-2 in the second round of the playoffs, but it lost the final two games of the series.
It seems like Miami will at least be involved in the Embiid sweepstakes if he does request to be moved.