Joel Embiid once again traded to New York Knicks in recent mock trade

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Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) shoots over New York Knicks guard Evan Fournier (13) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

As the NBA offseason muddles along, mock trades play a pivotal role in satisfying the hunger of the League’s fans. The most recent example comes from Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley, who furnished five trade ideas to “blow up” the 2023-24 NBA season.

Among those five deals was one that saw the Philadelphia 76ers trade away their superstar, Joel Embiid, in a deal that will certainly go over well in Philadelphia…

Let’s dive right into the trade and see how it works for all parties involved.

Joel Embiid to the Knicks, take 4026

Nov 29, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) shoots the ball over New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) and forward RJ Barrett (9) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks receive: Joel Embiid

Philadelphia 76ers receive: RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, Immanuel Quickley, Quentin Grimes, 2024 first-round pick (via NYK), 2024 first-round pick (top-12 protected, via WAS), 2025 first-round pick (top-four protected, via MIL), and a 2026 first-round pick (via NYK)

Why the Knicks make the trade

Joel Embiid
Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid reacts after the 76ers won an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Friday, March 10, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Do we really need to address this in-depth? Joel Embiid would instantly become one of the top players to ever suit up for the Knickerbockers. For a team as star starved as New York, Embiid would help restore the once proud franchise back to its former glory, independent of whether or not they win a championship.

Why the Sixers make the trade

Philadelphia 76ers’ Tyrese Maxey, left, shoots as New York Knicks’ R.J. Barrett defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Feb. 10, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

As for the Sixers, Buckley makes it clear this is a scenario in which Joel Embiid decides to pursue a championship elsewhere and asks out of Philadelphia. While all signs have pointed to Embiid remaining in the City of Brotherly Love, in a League where stars demand trades to specific teams left and right, anything is possible.

Should that eventually become the case, Buckley lays out an admittedly logical rationale, although it lacks proper context. As to the why behind the Sixers agreeing to the deal, Buckley said,

“As for the Sixers, an Embiid deal would spiral them into a long-term rebuild, so they should seek out as many picks and prospects as possible. New York could go even heavier on the former by adding extra firsts or pick swaps, but that might mean losing some of the latter. If Philly plans on keeping Tyrese Maxey, it might want players on his timeline, and all four of the incoming prospects qualify. Maxey and Quickley even shared a backcourt at Kentucky.”

Trading away a player as talented as Embiid would certainly send the Sixers into a “spiral,” but what would the team receive that could help get them out of that same spiral? Have RJ Barrett or Mitchell proven himself as anything more than capable starters? Do either Immanuel Quickly or Quinten Grimes truly have game-changing potential? And most importantly, do any of the draft picks involved have legitimate value?

While a deal centered around young players and picks certainly makes sense for the team trading away an MVP-level player, if not a single asset in the trade can make a marketable difference, is the deal even worth pursuing?

Would Joel Embiid want the trade?

Embiid, 76ers
Miami Heat’s Jimmy Butler, right, and Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid embrace after Game 6 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Thursday, May 12, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Then there’s the question of whether or not Embiid would even be interested in heading to the Big Apple. Again this trade is under the assumption that Joel is no longer interested in finishing his career in Philadephia, but would New York have the allure to tempt him? Yes, New York is one of three markets that are like no other, but there is another that has just as often been rumored and also rosters one of Embiid’s favorite former teammates.

While the Knicks would like to think of themselves as a serious contender to land Embiid, there has been no indication that they could compete with the Miami Heat for the superstar’s affection. To that point, a deal that would allow the Sixers to build around Tyrese Maxey on a rookie-scale max extension, whatever free agents — in any — the team is able to lure with their mountain of cap space next season, and Bam Adebayo seems significantly preferable to the Knick’s package.