Grade the Trade: Knicks reportedly make aggressive offer for Joel Embiid

New York Knicks, Joel Embiid. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
New York Knicks, Joel Embiid. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /
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New York Knicks, Philadelphia Sixers, Joel Embiid
Feb 10, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) is defended by New York Knicks center Jericho Sims (45) during the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

Laying out the details of the trade offer

Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer is one of the most plugged-in people in the Philly market, and he has his finger on the pulse of everything that goes on with Joel Embiid. For him to share on Tuesday that the New York Knicks are readying an offer for Embiid, then, is to both affirm that it is almost certainly true and to suggest there is fire beneath the smoke of Embiid potentially asking out.

He reported that the Knicks are willing to offer a package of 2-3 first-round picks alongside three players chosen from this group of four: Julius Randle, R.J. Barrett, Evan Fournier and Mitchell Robinson.

The Knicks would ideally make that package Randle, Fournier and Robinson, keeping Barrett and hoping he develops into an All-Star as the third star alongside Embiid and Jalen Brunson. Who will the 76ers likely demand? Let’s assume for the moment that Philadelphia sticks within these parameters (and isn’t going after Immanuel Quickley, Quentin Grimes or Josh Hart); in that case, Randle’s larger salary and mixed bag of playoff success may make him the odd-man-out.

Here’s what that deal could then look like:

The money matches almost exactly in this scenario. Evan Fournier is largely dead salary but the Sixers could use him as matching salary in a subsequent trade or see his money come off the books this summer (he has a team option for $19 million for the 2024-25 season). R.J. Barrett is less accomplished than Randle but he is five years younger and less expensive; he’s a better fit with Tyrese Maxey or a more valuable trade asset. Mitchell Robinson neatly replaces Embiid in the starting lineup and is a good defender, rebounder and finisher to be a low-end piece of Philly’s next core.

Let’s say that the 76ers don’t get a better offer and are willing to make this deal; should the Knicks pull the trigger?