Joel Embiid linked to Rockets amidst Harden trade drama

Embiid, 76ers
Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid reacts after making a basket during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Toronto Raptors, Monday, April 18, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Despite the fact that he has not only not requested a trade, but has become even more involved in the Sixers’ front office, trade rumors around Joel Embiid continue to fly.

As James Harden continues his worldwide trade demand tour, a ripple effect of further drama continues to plague the Philadelphia 76ers. Much in the same way that Clover, the monster from Cloverfield, terrorized the citizens of New York only to shed parasites which caused further terror, so has this dramatic saga impacted the city of Philadelphia.

Not only has the team found themselves constantly in the news for reasons relating to both James Harden and Daryl Morey, but reigning MVP Joel Embiid has consistently been brought into the mix as well. It’s not illogical to suggest that, as this situation continues to worsen, there may be a breaking point for Embid where he may find it in his best interest also to request a trade. With each new chapter in this living nightmare for Sixers fans, another rumor referring to Embid is also unpacked.

The latest team to monitor the Joel Embiid situation

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) dunks during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

The latest comes from The Athletic’s Kelly Iko, who recently made a connection to a potential team to keep an eye on should Embiid demand a trade. Who is that team? Iko makes that known in a recent episode of The Athletic NBA Show:

“Another team (to watch is Houston, just because of the bond between Joel and Ime (Udoka). Maybe in the next year or so… because, obviously, if Joel stays this season and plays it out, that’s one thing. But moving forward, I do think New York and Houston are the two teams to watch if Joel said, ‘I want to leave too.”

There are a couple of aspects to break down here. The first is the connection between Embid and Rockets coach Ime Udoka. The former San Antonio Spur joined the Sixers’ coaching staff under Brett Brown back in 2019, giving him the chance to work up close and personal with the franchise center.

Since then, Embiid and Udoka have maintained some level of a relationship as the latter even attended the former’s wedding earlier this summer. While it doesn’t take a close bond to have an interest in acquiring the reigning MVP, it certainly doesn’t hurt either.

What is also interesting is the place the Rockets find themselves in their journey to contending. While the primary core of the team is still quite young, former second-round Jalen Green is expected to take a leap of sorts next season while the buzz around rookie Amen Thompson only continues to grow. Add in veteran free agent additions Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks, and the Rockets looking to be ready to begin their ascent.

At this point in time, the Sixers have no plans to move Embiid,n but that decision may not always be up to them. Should that change, it should not be a surprise to see Houston’s top brass at least make the call.

Rumors had already surrounded the team of reported interest in adding Celtics star Jaylen Brown. Now with Brown securely resigned in Boston, the Rockets could easily turn their attention to another potentially available star.