The Joel Embiid trade rumors are picking up steam even though the league’s deadline just happened last week. The speculation arrives as the Philadelphia 76ers are still very much a playoff contender in the Eastern Conference, and Embiid is a key part of their success.
However, a recent bit of information dropped by a respectable NBA insider has opened the door for future possibilities. NBA teams are already doing their homework ahead of next season.
Podcast episode sparks Joel Embiid trade rumors
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst discussed the possibilities surrounding Joel Embiid during his recent Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective podcast featuring Jackie MacMullan and Tim McMahon.
According to a transcription via Hot New Hip Hop, Windhorst didn’t say any deals were being discussed, but he did say teams are “talking about that.”
That’s crazy since the deadline has come and gone with Embiid still on the roster and half a season to go.
“But anyways, one of the conversations people are starting to have in the league is ‘will they move Embiid? What’s the price? Where would he go?’,” Windhorst said on his podcast.
“I’m not going to get into that, but my point is people are talking about that,” he added. “I don’t think they would do that without making an adjustment to the head coach. It’s such a radical thing, but the fact that we’re in mid-February and the people who work in the league, who have to prepare in advance, are mulling over Joel Embiid potentially coming to market, whether that’s true or not… I mean, Josh Harris can come on this podcast and deny it if he wants, but the fact people are talking about it, is not good. It’s a symptom of where they are.”
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) February 10, 2020
Embiid still playing at All-Star level, despite criticism
Embiid, currently 25, is averaging 22.8 points, 12 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game this season. He was chosen amongst All-Star starters for the Eastern Conference and will appear as part of the starting lineup for Team Giannis.
However, Basketball Hall of Famers Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal have criticized him. In particular, Shaq referred to Embiid as “soft” during an NBA on TNT telecast.
Shaq going off on Embiid, calling him soft?pic.twitter.com/x1Ep8AY1QZ
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) February 7, 2020
Many fans feel that the Philadelphia 76ers should be much higher in the standings, and there are those holding the big man responsible.
Embiid even made a gesture towards a portion of the Sixers fanbase after knocking down a huge three-pointer in one game, making a “be quiet” signal with his finger towards haters in Philly.
“Just talking to myself,” Embiid said post-game with regards to that moment. “You know, I’ve not been playing up to my standards, so, even tonight, just mad at myself, just frustrated,” the Sixers’ big man said.
“I don’t care how it looks. I’m just playing basketball,” Embiid said before adding in some bleeped out commentary.
At the moment, the team is 33-21 overall and fifth in the Eastern Conference. They’re two games behind the Miami Heat for fourth place — a team that now stars former Sixers player Jimmy Butler.
The Sixers are also trailing the Boston Celtics (37-15) and Toronto Raptors (40-14), a team that lost major star, Kawhi Leonard. There’s still a lot of the season left, but issues have been apparent concerning getting it all together.
Joel Embiid is amongst the best big men in the league, regardless of the criticism. The Sixers center is second only to NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo in terms of games with 20 points and 10 rebounds this season.
However, just the fact that other teams are in the process of doing their diligence ahead of next season could be a sign that the Philadelphia 76ers already have some major considerations for their roster, should they fail in the postseason again.