It’s no secret that the New York Knicks are pursuing a superstar. That’s been the goal since Leon Rose took over as president of basketball operations in 2020. It also isn’t a secret that one of the stars the Knicks are monitoring is Joel Embiid.
With James Harden being a no-show in Philadelphia, the Sixers getting off to a slow start could lead to an Embiid trade request. He’s presumed to be the next disgruntled star to want out, and if that happens, the Knicks would be labeled as the team to trade for the reigning MVP.
All of that’s to say that it isn’t a surprise that The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey wrote that New York is reportedly willing to offer Julius Randle, RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, Evan Fournier, and a few first-round picks for Embiid.
However, with the Knicks’ regular season slated to start on Wednesday, the report is the exact kind of distraction the team doesn’t need right now.
Knicks reportedly willing to offer three starters in trade for Joel Embiid
Has it crossed Julius Randle’s mind that he could be included in a trade for a superstar? Probably. The same applies to RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, and Evan Fournier. The latter is likely hoping that he’ll be in a package for a superstar sooner rather than later because he isn’t in the Knicks’ rotation.
New York’s pursuit of Embiid has been known for months now, with it being reported over the offseason that the front office is hoping things will go poorly enough in Philadephia for Embiid to ask out.
Pompey’s tweet shouldn’t have come as a shock to Knicks fans or even the players mentioned, but for a team hoping to make it back to the playoffs, New York doesn’t need players like Randle to feel like they’re not wanted. Yes, there are fans out there who have been not-so-patiently waiting for a Randle trade, but as long as he plays for the Knicks, he will remain one of the most important players on the team.
The Malcolm Brogdon situation with the Celtics was different because the Sixth Man was included in a reported deal with the Clippers that fell through, but it goes to show what happens when players know they’re being included in offers. Brogdon felt slighted and was traded to Portland a couple of months later as part of the Jrue Holiday deal. His frustration made sense.
With the NBA season underway, a larger spotlight will be placed on Joel Embiid’s situation. Questions will be asked to the Knicks about it, whether Tom Thibodeau and players want to answer them or not. This is still the beginning of what could be a wild few months leading up to the February deadline.
It helps that Knicks players are used to dealing with the New York media and being under a microscope. Hopefully, New York’s pursuit of Joel Embiid doesn’t damage egos to the point where the team’s record is negatively impacted.