Maybe it’s because it’s the dead part of the offseason or because the James Harden-Sixers saga worsens by the day, but Joel Embiid’s future is a hot topic. The belief is the star center will request a trade and land in The Big Apple with the New York Knicks, an outcome Leon Rose would likely be thrilled with.
There are Knicks fans who would love to see Embiid play for New York, while others are hesitant to give up assets and young players for a player who has yet to lead the Sixers to the Eastern Conference Finals. Would Embiid be worth mortgaging the Knicks’ future for? Given it’s been reported that New York is hoping things will go south in Philadelphia, the front office seems to believe so.
If Embiid hit the trade market before the 2023-24 season starts, that’d be a shocker, but it’s a possibility that can’t be entirely ruled out. He could be on the move before the February deadline or next summer if the Sixers don’t experience postseason success. He could remain with the Sixers, so the trade rumors could all be for naught.
If the star center does become available, the Knicks will have competition in trade talks, and these three teams could do their best to “steal” Embiid from New York.
3 teams that could try to outbid Knicks if Joel Embiid requests trade
3: Oklahoma City Thunder
Sam Presti is one of the top front-office executives in the league, which is why the Thunder have 35 draft picks (15 first-round picks) over the next seven years. Oklahoma City has a star point guard in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and a load of promising young players, headlined by Chet Holmgren, who could win 2023-24 NBA Rookie of the Year.
The Thunder snuck into the play-in tournament last season with a 42-40 regular season record, the ninth-best in the Western Conference. With Holmgren making his long-awaited debut this season, Oklahoma City should be back in the play-in again, except this time, the Thunder could advance to the first round of the playoffs for the first time in four years.
The organization could easily meet Daryl Morey’s asking price if Joel Embiid requests a trade, but is that a move the Thunder should make? Probably not. Presti has orchestrated an excellent rebuild in Oklahoma City, and cashing in chips for Embiid isn’t the direction the organization seemingly wants to go in.
Still, the Thunder would be in the best position in the league to disrupt the Knicks’ dreams of trading for Embiid.