76ers star Joel Embiid recently opened up on his teammate, James Harden, requesting a trade from Philadelphia. Apr 20, 2023; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden (1) talks with center Joel Embiid (21) during an official’s review during game three of the 2023 NBA playoffs against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

If James Harden gets his way, he’s played his final game with the Philadelphia 76ers. What does Joel Embiid, Philadelphia’s star and reigning NBA MVP, think of that?

Embiid recently answered that question. Harden requested a trade from Philadelphia in June.

In an interview with Showtime’s Rachel Nichols, Embiid was asked what he thought about Harden’s trade request. His response was straightforward.

“Disappointed,” Embiid said when asked what his initial reaction to the trade request was. “But then again, I also understand, it’s business. People make decisions and, you know, and I’m more appreciative of the way he’s handled the whole situation. You know? We’re going to be boys forever. I want him to come back, obviously, so we can go out and accomplish what we want. Which is to win a championship. So hopefully his mindset can be changed. But other than that, I’m just so happy to be his friend.”

Embiid’s response was generally praised.

Philadelphia has been a contending team for several years now, coming out of the long rebuild that brought several high draft picks — including Embiid — to the 76ers. But while Philadelphia has reached the playoffs in each of the last six seasons, postseason success has been limited.

In five of the last six seasons (including the two with Harden), the 76ers have been sent home in the second round of the playoffs. Philadelphia is still waiting for its first trip to the NBA Finals, or even Eastern Conference Finals, since 2001.

[Rachel Nichols]

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