At the peak of his career, Joel Embiid, the phenomenal center, has proven his dominance in the NBA. This past season, he secured the highly-coveted NBA MVP award, a well-deserved recognition after being a close second in consecutive years. As he approaches his 30th birthday in March, there’s a burning desire within him to accomplish the one remaining goal on his illustrious resume: capturing an NBA championship.
Despite being an NBA superstar, Joel Embiid has faced playoff struggles since being drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in 2014, never reaching the conference finals. The team’s numerous attempts to build a championship squad around him have failed, making him feel the pressure, especially as his rival Nikola Jokic secured an NBA championship with the Denver Nuggets. With uncertainty surrounding James Harden’s future, Joel Embiid’s recent comments during a public appearance have only added to the speculation about his own future.
Joel Embiid said he would even leave 76ers for getting a shot at winning the NBA championship
“I just want to win a championship. Whatever it takes. I don’t know where that’s going to be. Whether it’s Philly or anywhere else. I just want to have a chance to accomplish that. I want to see what it feels like to win my first one, then you can think about the next one. It’s not easy, but it takes more than one, two, three guys. You got to have good people around you.”
Daryl Morey, the Sixers’ top executive, is under immense pressure to elevate the team’s performance after the Harden trade didn’t lead to playoff success, and Harden now wants to leave. Finding a trade to boost the team will be challenging, given Harden’s declining form. NBA superstars increasingly seek trades rather than reaching free agency, as seen with Damian Lillard, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Chris Paul, and even the possibility of Joel Embiid becoming the next to ask for a trade if the team disappoints again.
Joel Embiid has faced challenges in the playoffs, often dealing with injuries that impact his performance. Concerns about avoiding a “playoff choker” reputation, similar to James Harden, persist. If Embiid eventually requests a trade from the Philadelphia Sixers, he may present a list of preferred destinations, just like Damian Lillard with the Blazers.
A hypothetical scenario envisions the Miami Heat acquiring Lillard but still falling short in the playoffs, leading to Embiid requesting a trade to Miami, possibly involving a Bam Adebayo for Embiid swap. The NBA landscape has shown that major trades and superstar moves are not uncommon, and Embiid’s future with the Sixers remains uncertain if the team’s performance falls short of expectations once again. It will only be a matter of time before his wish will turn into a demand.