This week on FS1’s First Things First, Nick Wright predicted that the inevitable James Harden trade will trigger a Joel Embiid-sized domino to fall in Philadelphia. Unsurprisingly, Wright expects the New York Knicks would surrender a sizable package in a trade for the big man.
The disgruntled Harden has demanded a trade. Signs point to an eventual swap with the LA Clippers. The consensus around the league is that, once The Beard is dealt, Philadelphia’s remaining talent will be insufficient to win a Championship. Either way, Embiid might be so impatient / disgusted / pick-your-adjective with the state of things in Philly that he demands a trade.
Ah, speculation, I know thy sting. Further fueling the idea are Embiid’s connections to New York. Knicks’ president Leon Rose once represented the big Cameroonian at CAA, and they remain tight, according to a guy at the coffee shop this morning. Also, Joel and Julius Randle both just joined the Skechers family. Shoe bros stick together like glue!
On First Things First, Wright predicted that eventually, and maybe not until the offseason, the Knicks would trade RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, Quentin Grimes, and first-round draft picks from 2025 (two), 2027, and 2029 for the reigning league MVP who has averaged 27 points, 11 rebounds, and 3.4 assists in his career.
Co-talking head Chris Broussard responded to Wright, “There is scuttlebutt in some corners of the league that Embiid wants to go to New York. Now he’s not going to come up and say it because he doesn’t want the backlash from fans in Philly.”
Broussard expressed apathy toward Wright’s proposal, however. “We always associate the Knicks with all these great players on other teams, so I’m not going to count on that, but . . . I hate to say it: Embiid wouldn’t lead them to a championship. I’m sorry, he wouldn’t.”
Presumably, after Wright’s hypothetical trade, the Knicks would start Jalen Brunson, Immanuel Quickley, Josh Hart, Julius Randle, and Embiid. Rounding out a nine-man rotation, the bench crew would include Deuce McBride, Donte DiVincenzo, Jericho Sims, and Isaiah Hartenstein. When injuries strike, Evan Fournier and Jacob Toppin would be waiting in the wings.
Embiid will turn 30 this season and hasn’t been the picture of health in Philly. In his first preseason game this week, “there was obvious rust” according to Josh Grieg of Liberty Ballers. The six-time All-Star played about 80% of the Sixers’ games over each of the last three seasons, including playoffs. As he embarks on his next decade, he is likely to play fewer games, not more.
If the Knicks do land Embiid, “They’d be good like they were with Ewing,” Broussard admitted begrudgingly. And the table agreed that a pairing of Brunson and Embiid would be a “good fit,” at least. Do you think a team that starts Brunson, Quickley, Hart, Randle, and Embiid can win the Larry O’Brien trophy?
Full segment found here: