It’s no secret that the New York Knicks have been waiting for the right moment to jump at the next disgruntled star. Players like Karl-Anthony Towns and Trae Young have been brought up in discussions, but those two names don’t compare to the 2022-23 NBA MVP, Joel Embiid.
All that the Sixers needed to do was close out Game 6 to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in over 20 years, but Philadelphia let Boston and Jayson Tatum steal the win at Wells Fargo Center. Game 7 was a disaster from start to finish for the Sixers with Embiid and James Harden shooting a combined 8-for-29 while Tatum made history with 51 points.
Two days after Philadelphia’s season came to an end, the organization dismissed head coach Doc Rivers. It was a move that many suspected was going to happen, but it’s one that has only made the Sixers’ future even murkier.
Harden’s expected to opt out of his player option this summer and potentially return to Houston, so that’s one star that Philadelphia fans should be expecting to lose. Given the Sixers’ roster and lack of cap space, the idea of Embiid requesting a trade isn’t out of the question. That’s where the Knicks come in.
Joel Embiid-Knicks trade speculation sparks after Sixers fire Doc Rivers
Even before Philadelphia dismissed Doc Rivers, there were rumblings about New York eyeing Joel Embiid’s situation. The Knicks surprised a lot of people by making it to the Eastern Conference Semifinals but are still a key piece short of being considered contenders. Along with that, the organization has the draft capital to get a deal done.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Tim MacMahon believe that the Knicks have been watching Embiid from afar, and The Ringer’s Bill Simmons thinks that New York is waiting for the right moment to make a move. On Simmons’ podcast, he said:
"“The Knicks are just waiting for Embiid to say, ‘It’s time for me to go,’” Simmons said on his podcast. “They have their relationships. They have Leon [Rose] and [World Wide] Wes, who are his [Embiid’s] guys. They have been waiting for this moment right now, and it’s here.”"
If Leon Rose and the Knicks get the chance to go after the reigning MVP, there’s no denying that the organization will be ready to go all-in. The 29-year-old is coming off a season where he averaged a career-high 33.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 4.2 assists in 66 games.
Embiid signed a four-year, $196 million supermax extension with the Sixers in the 2021 offseason that’s set to kick in at the start of the 2023-24 season. The extension goes through the 2026-27 season, which is a player option.
If Embiid has the desire to leave Philadelphia after seven seasons, New York would emerge as one of the favorites to land the big man. The Knicks’ trade assets could pay off big-time with the MVP.