Report: New York Knicks hoping things get so bad that Joel Embiid asks out from Philadelphia 76ers

Mike Battaglino
3 Min Read
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks are holding out hope that Joel Embiid will ask to leave the Philadelphia 76ers so they can pursue the reigning NBA MVP.

Next season, Embiid will begin a four-year contract he signed in August 2021. He could be looking for a change of scenery after the 76ers were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs for the fifth time in his seven seasons. Philadelphia lost Game 7 to the Boston Celtics after leading the series 3-2.

Philadelphia fired coach Doc Rivers and is expected to lose James Harden this offseason, with the veteran rumored to go back and play for the Houston Rockets. That would leave Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris as the top supporting players on the 76ers’ current roster with a new head coach, Nick Nurse, on the way.

“They’re not hoping for patience, they’re hoping for The Process,” ESPN’s Tim MacMahon said during a podcast appearance. “I don’t know if that’s coming, but they’ve looked at that situation in Philly and there’s been a hope in New York that stuff in Philly will go haywire to the point where Embiid will ask out. I don’t know the percentage odds on that, I would say they are slim, but that’s been the hope.”

Embiid won MVP this season for the first time, averaging 33.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.7 blocks per game.

He would give the Knicks the scoring big man they lack to team with guard Jared Brunson and forward Julius Randle. New York made great strides in its first season with Brunson and advanced to the second round of the playoffs, where it lost to the Miami Heat.

The Knicks won 47 games during the regular season, their most since the 2012-13 season, and defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games in the first round.

Mitchell Robinson and Isaiah Hartenstein manned the middle for the Knicks this season, and Embiid would obviously be a massive upgrade on that tandem. The Knicks seem to be in good shape financially if they want to make a splash this offseason.

“If the next disgruntled All-Star becomes available, New York has the assets to make a trade and not ruin future flexibility even with the new collective bargaining agreement rules set to begin in July,” ESPN’s Bobby Marks wrote.

New York likely wants to re-sign Josh Hart, who was acquired from the Portland Trail Blazers in a four-team trade during the regular season. His arrival changed the dynamic of the team and helped propel the Knicks toward the postseason.

The Knicks’ biggest decision could be what to do with Randle, who has been up and down throughout his four seasons in New York and particularly disappointing in the playoffs.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has focused on New York sports. He has covered the NBA and NFL for almost three decades and is still waiting for the next championship for the Knicks and Jets.