Like the New York Knicks, Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers exited the 2023 NBA playoffs in the second round.
It was an incredibly disappointing performance for the league’s MVP as the Boston Celtics humiliated the 76ers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Rumors and speculation are already swirling around mercurial guard James Harden, who has recently been linked to teams like the Phoenix Suns and the Houston Rockets.
But Embiid could be on the move too, and the Knicks are in a position to pounce if he makes his wishes known to his current team, according to Bill Simmons of The Ringer.
“The Knicks are just waiting for Embiid to say, ‘It’s time for me to go,'” Simmons said on The Bill Simmons Podcast. “They have their relationships. They have Leon [Rose] and [World Wide] Wes, who are his [Embiid’s] guys. They have been waiting for this moment, and it’s here.”
Tim McMahon of ESPN concurred on an episode of The Lowe Post with Zach Lowe, saying Embiid would have to “choose loyalty or choose a chance to compete for a championship.”
Lowe agreed the Knicks had the assets to make a move.
“And now Tim, [Harden] can walk. And if you don’t think that teams with trade assets, like the Knicks, for instance, have been watching this situation from afar…” Lowe said.
“[The Knicks] have been watching, rubbing their hands together,” MacMahon replied.
The NBA world was quick to react to the potentially explosive news:
Jalen Brunson finally gets the help he needs https://t.co/Mz1ODwlpqx
— Springtick380 (@Springtick380) May 16, 2023
It’ll be an upgrade from Randall lol https://t.co/sP80SI3PH2
— Anja Luck (@morenofuerte12) May 15, 2023
This trade does NOTHING to address the Knicks problems with outside shooting, perimeter defense, poor wing play or poor bench play, which is what killed us in the playoffs. Embiid is a great player, but as we’ve seen with the 76ers, he can’t do it alone. https://t.co/1IRwFNdQnp
— Knicky B. from Harlem (@KnickyFrmHarlem) May 16, 2023
Why I’m not totally interested in going all in on Joel Embiid:
1. PTSD with Knicks acquiring injury prone bigs at the tail end of their primes
2. His playoff history
3. You thought Danny Ainge was annoying to deal with? Try Daryl Morey
— Blames (@blames_) May 15, 2023
Possibly unpopular opinion, but there are only like 3 to 4 players who I think the Knicks (and probably most other teams) could justify trading that many assets for and Embiid is not one of those guys.
— Will Raderman (@RadWill_) May 15, 2023