In true NBA fashion, the drama started before the first regular season game of the 2023-24 season tips off. Bright and early at 5 a.m. ET, The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey reported that the New York Knicks are willing to offer three current starters (subscription required) and a few first-round picks for Joel Embiid.
The report made its rounds on Knicks Twitter (X), and some fans are adamantly against New York losing key players Julius Randle, RJ Barrett, and Mitchell Robinson, while others are desperate to see a star in The Big Apple. It’s safe to assume that Evan Fournier would approve of the deal, considering he’s impatiently waiting to leave NYC.
Pompey reported that Leon Rose has made acquiring Embiid “his No. 1 priority.” The question now is if and when the reigning MVP will ask out. James Harden being a no-show the last week in Philadelphia could help expedite an Embiid trade request.
According to New York Daily News’ Kristian Winfield, league sources believe that if Embiid requests a trade, it’ll happen in the offseason (subscription required).
Will Knicks target Joel Embiid request a trade from the Sixers this season?
As Pompey wrote, Joel Embiid has said numerous times that he loves Philadelphia. It’s been his home for nearly 10 years, and he’s seen the Sixers go from a bottom-dweller to a championship contender. He won his first MVP title in a Philadelphia uniform.
Even if Embiid were to request a trade, his love for Philly wouldn’t change, although there’d undoubtedly be Sixers fans who’d despise him for it. It isn’t his fault that he’s dealing with a holdout from his co-star for the second time in three years.
James Harden initially said he would play in the team’s preseason finale last Friday, but a reported “personal matter” kept him from backing up his word. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that it’s “increasingly unclear” if Harden will play in Philadelphia’s season-opener on Thursday after he missed practice again on Monday.
The longer the saga wears on, the higher the chances that Embiid will request a trade. Don’t be surprised if he doesn’t want until next offseason to do so because if there’s one thing about the NBA, it’s unpredictable. He could be the next star on the move in February before the deadline.