Report: Joel Embiid has assured Philadelphia 76ers he’s okay riding out James Harden drama

Jesse Cinquini
3 Min Read
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

A rumor circulated earlier this NBA offseason that many folks around league circles believe that Philadelphia 76ers star big man Joel Embiid will request a trade from the team sooner rather than later. Also, the New York Knicks and Miami Heat are allegedly keeping tabs on what happens with Embiid.

But, fortunately for Sixers fans, a recent report indicates that Embiid has given the team assurances that he’s okay riding out the ongoing drama involving guard James Harden.

“Thus far, Embiid has given the franchise assurances he is OK riding out the current drama with Harden, sources said. How long he gives them to resolve the matter remains to be seen,” Ramona Shelburne wrote.

Embiid, 29, was selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft after one season of college basketball at the University of Kansas. The 7-foot big man averaged 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, 0.9 steals and 2.6 blocks per game in 28 appearances during the 2013-14 season (20 starts).

Those numbers were good enough for Embiid to earn Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors as well as a spot on the Big 12 All-Freshman Team.

The center has played seven seasons in the NBA, all as a member of the Sixers franchise. He is fresh off the best season of his pro career in the 2022-23 season, as he won the league’s MVP award. Embiid averaged 33.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.0 steal and 1.7 blocks per game in 66 games during the regular season (all starts).

Unfortunately, though, Embiid didn’t carry over his excellent play from the 2022-23 regular season into the 2023 postseason. He was particularly lackluster in Philadelphia’s second-round series against Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and the Boston Celtics. Embiid averaged 25.5 points and 9.0 rebounds per game on 42.1 percent shooting from the field during the series, a far cry from his regular-season numbers.

Embiid’s Sixers lost the second-round series against the Celtics in seven games. Celtics star wing Jayson Tatum put together a Game 7 performance for the ages, as he finished with 51 points, while Embiid converted just five of his 18 field-goal attempts in the loss.

The report from Shelburne is encouraging from the standpoint of Sixers fans, as it hints at the notion that Embiid is loyal to the franchise and wants to remain there, at least for the near future.

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Jesse is an aspiring sports journalist that has previously worked as a staff writer at SB Nation’s CelticsBlog and The Knicks Wall.