PJ Tucker’s first trip to MSG as a Clipper didn’t end as he hoped. The New York Knicks spoiled James Harden’s debut in a 111-97 win behind Julius Randle and RJ Barrett’s combined 53 points.
Tucker was included in the Harden trade on Oct. 31, and he made his LA debut on Nov. 1. After Monday’s game, New York media took advantage of Tucker’s history and asked him about the Joel Embiid trade rumors.
Harden didn’t play in a game for Philadelphia before being traded. The Sixers are 5-1 to start the season behind Embiid’s 32.5 points per game and Tyrese Maxey’s 25.5 points. No Harden, no problem. Or, at least, not yet.
PJ Tucker talks Joel Embiid trade rumors, believes Sixers are a good team
When asked about the Joel Embiid trade rumors, PJ Tucker confirmed the obvious.
"“Of course, he hears it,” Clippers forward PJ Tucker said Monday. “But you never know with these situations and how it’s going to play out, what guys are thinking, what’s happening behind closed doors. You never know.”"
There’s no way Embiid can escape the rumors, especially with the proximity between Philadelphia and New York. The Knicks and Sixers won’t square off until Jan. 5 in Philly, and that game will be nationally televised on ESPN. Who knows what the Sixers will look like at that point, but if the team takes a turn for the worse, Embiid will have to be prepared to be bombarded with trade questions.
According to Tucker, the media’s making the situation in Philadelphia look bad when, in reality, that isn’t the case.
"“It wasn’t like that all. The media is going to spin it how you want. But Philly has got a good team. We had a good team,” Tucker said. “What James [Harden] said — when we played, we won. It’s a good mix. It still could have worked. Wasn’t going to. But it was a good team. I think all the noise was just that: just noise.”"
Based on what Tucker said, there’s no reason to believe that Embiid is unhappy with the Sixers. That could change, which is what the Knicks are likely hoping will happen, but Philadelphia’s record to start 2023-24 is enough to prove that Joel Embiid and the Sixers are in a good spot in their post-James Harden era.