Joel Embiid was headlining news twice in one day on Monday. Earlier in the day, a video surfaced on social media of his conversation with Maverick Carter during the first annual UNINTERRUPTED film festival. In that conversation, Embiid was quoted as saying “I just want to win a championship… I don’t know where that’s going to be. Whether it’s in Philly or anywhere else. I just want to have a chance.” This quote set Philadelphia on fire as Embiid’s loyalty to the city was debated.
As the evening approached, a new report from NBA Insider Sam Amick emerged fanning the flames of his recent quotes. Amick addressed the comments and Embiid’s cryptic tweets with his scoop from a Sixers source:
“As for the question of whether Embiid might be trying to leave Philly anytime soon, a high-ranking Sixers source told The Athletic that Embiid or his representatives have not shared any such message with the team. In fact, the organization’s belief remains that Embiid would love to go the way of Dirk Nowitzki or Kobe Bryant and stay with one team for his entire career.”
If this is truly how Embiid feels, his comments could have just been public pressure on the organization to keep the team competitive even if James Harden is traded. It would be in both Joel Embiid’s and the Sixers’ interest to continue to work together for the remainder of his career.
Joel Embiid’s chance at legacy
If the reigning MVP truly wants to follow in the footsteps of greats like Dirk Nowitzki and the late great Kobe Bryant, staying with Philadelphia could help cement his legacy. Embiid’s career started with him missing multiple seasons due to a number of injuries, with many outside the Philadelphia 76ers organization calling him an injury-prone bust.
The organization continued to believe and Embiid and once he was healthy and able to play, you could see how he could be a star. Since then, the big fella has evolved into one of the best players in the league and captured the 2023 NBA MVP.
During his tenure in Philly, he has dealt with a revolving door of teammates, three coaches, and a couple of different co-stars. Through it all Embiid put the team on his back and helped turn the Sixers into contenders. He’s captured the heart of the city and has put himself in the conversation as not only one of the best players in 76ers’ history but one of the best big men of all time.
If Joel Embiid were to remain in Philadelphia and win a championship, he could go down as arguably the best player in franchise history. Embiid wants to win and it is obvious he wants to do it in Philadelphia, so sticking around for the long haul seems like something he would do and needs to do.
The Sixers should do what it takes to put their star first
The Sixers’ last franchise player was Allen Iverson, who had his ups and downs in Philadelphia. After ten years in Philadelphia including a finals appearance and MVP, Iverson was traded to the Denver Nuggets. Iverson’s career slowly went downhill from there after two solid seasons in Denver. He is still a franchise great and maybe the best player in franchise history but he has stated in the past that he wishes he was not traded. In Embiid’s case, could he have the same career trajectory as the Answer?
Daryl Morey and the front office should do whatever it takes to make Embiid happy and comfortable as their star player in Philadelphia. There isn’t a player or enough assets to replace what Embiid brings to this franchise and city. If he hasn’t expressed sentiments of wanting to be traded yet, they should keep it that way by building the best competitive roster around him and providing him with a good co-star.
As long as the front office can put a good team around him, he is good enough to put the team on his back. The current regime should make Embiid a priority so he can finish his career in Philadelphia. If they fail and he asks out for a trade, they don’t want to go down as the front office who traded the best player in franchise history.