Report: Joel Embiid ‘very involved’ in 76ers front office decision making

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Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) watches from the bench as the 76ers fall behind the Boston Celtics during the second half of Game 7 in the NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series, Sunday, May 14, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

After years of pining for the illustrious award, Philadelphia 76ers‘ franchise center Joel Embiid finally secured his first MVP last season. With that accomplishment now added to his already impressive resume, it’s time for Embiid to focus on achieving even greater heights, the likes of which have long eluded not only the two-time scoring champ but the entire Sixers organization; an NBA championship.

True, before the Sixers can run through the Finals, they must first walk past the second round of the playoffs, something the organization has not done since 2001, but the goal in mind is far larger than simply reaching the Eastern Conference Finals.

Recently, NBA Insider Ramona Shelburne spoke on Embiid and his approach for the upcoming season, including his role going forward as he works with the Sixers’ front office to build a contender in Philadelphia. Shelburne recently told ESPN,

“I think his mentality is he is going to give everything that he has to the Sixers this year, and that includes putting his arm around James Harden. That includes trying to lift Tyrese Maxey up. That includes inviting all those guys to his wedding.

You saw Tobias Harris there, right, you saw George Niang, former Sixer, and I think this year really is a make or break year in the sense that they have all this cap space going forward and that, you know he’s in very close communication with Daryl Morey and the front office, even owner Josh Harris, talking about their plans and strategy for the future and so their plan is we’ve got cap space after next year. Well, you better do something with that cap space.

Does that mean free agents? Does that mean trades? Joel Embiid is very involved in all of those discussions going forward with the 76ers. And I think when we talk about this year, it doesn’t necessarily mean at the end of this year he asks out. It means, this year is very important because they gotta get a squad together for the long haul if they want to keep Joel Embiid happy and in the fold. And he’s very involved in all of those conversations with that front office.”

While it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact moment that Embiid began working closely with the Sixers’ front office, it seems clear he was pivotal in the addition of Mo Bamba; it is a welcome change as he long seemed disinterested in holding management’s feet to the fire. It does not always work when a star holds a role in team construction conversations, but what the Sixers have done up to this point has not only failed but arguably has even been counterproductive in many cases to maximizing Embiid’s performance and, at the same time, the team’s championship window.

Why Embiid in the room could spark meaningful change

Embiid, 76ers
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid warms up prior to the first half of Game 2 in the NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinals playoff series against the Boston Celtics, Wednesday, May 3, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

With Embiid in the war room, the team has an opportunity to add players who will potentially qualm any perceived desire to go elsewhere in future years, “his guys,” if you will. The equivalent of what the additions of PJ Tucker and Danuel House were to Harden, though considering that nuclear fallout, one may not exactly be enthused on the surface, understandably so. It is important to remember that there has rarely, if ever, been another James Harden, so it stands to reason the two scenarios could wind up completely different.

In addition to the potential to add “his guys,” Embiid would, at long last, have a say in the major additions the Sixers can conceivably bring in. The Al Horfords, Tobias Harrises, and even the James Hardens of the world – though the latter did benefit Embiid, at least statistically last season, could become a thing of the past as the team could focus on bringing in a complementary star for Embiid – both on and off the court – for the first time since the team acquired Jimmy Butler from the Minnesota Timberwolves back in 2018.

It’s about time the Philadelphia 76ers’ organization took building around their franchise cornerstone seriously.