As Doc Rivers gets fired, there are rumors about Joel Embiid and the New York Knicks.
As Doc Rivers gets fired, there are rumors about Joel Embiid and the New York Knicks.© Images AGN

This summer, Joel Embiid’s commitment to Philadelphia could be put to the test.

With another early playoff exit under their belts and the firing of coach Doc Rivers on Tuesday, the 76ers will have to try to improve a group that seems to be at a dead end, with no draft capital or cap space left.

Even before Rivers was fired, some of the best people in the NBA thought that contending teams, like the Knicks, were setting themselves up to get Embiid, especially if his teammate James Harden goes back to Houston as reported.

“Choose loyalty or a chance to compete for a championship,” ESPN’s Tim MacMahon said of Embiid as a guest on Zach Lowe’s podcast The Lowe Post.

“Tim, James can now walk. And if you don’t think teams with tradeable assets, like the Knicks, have been keeping an eye on this from afar,” Lowe said in response.

“[The Knicks] have been watching, rubbing their hands together,” MacMahon said.

If Harden went to Houston, Embiid would be in the best years of his career but would be on a team that was trying to get better. This isn’t how everyone wants to spend their best years.

This season, the Knicks chose not to trade a lot of valuable assets for Donovan Mitchell. However, they could still go all-in for the current MVP.

Lowe said, “I know that teams with assets are looking around and thinking, ‘Whoa… Can we?'”

After Doc Rivers was fired, everyone is watching Joel Embiid this summer. Getty Images

© Provided by New York Post.

Joel Embiid will be the NBA MVP in 2023.

And Lowe is not the only one to think that the Knicks might want to trade their draft picks and young players for a great.

Bill Simmons, the founder of Ringer, thinks that the Knicks are “in that mode” for Embiid.

“The Knicks are just waiting for Embiid to say, ‘It’s time to go,'” On his podcast, Simmons said. “They have their own friends and family. Leon Rose and World Wide Wes are his (Embiid’s) guys for them. They’ve been waiting for this moment, and it’s finally here.”

He said that the 76ers could decide to fire coach Doc Rivers, which they did on Tuesday, and re-sign James Harden to a huge contract while keeping the core of the team together.

But it’s a waste of time to try to guess what Harden will do with his career.

“The Rockets think he’s coming,” MacMahon and Lowe both said after the 76ers lost on Sunday.

If Harden really does go to Houston to play basketball without having to worry about anything on a young team, Embiid will be stuck.

Joel Embiid’s success depends on James Harden.From Getty Images and NBAE

Zach Brazalier of The Post also said in March that the Knicks were in a good spot this offseason because they turned down a possible Mitchell move last year.

© Provided by New York Post.

On a short list of possible trade candidates, he suggested Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Towns, as well as Joel Embiid, if this year ended badly, which it did.

The futures of each Knicks player are broken down before a crucial summer.

© Provided by New York Post.

“If I were the Knicks, all of these stories about Karl-Anthony Towns would start now. Ignore that. Lowe said, “If I’m the Knicks, I have a good team because they have a lot of good trade assets.”

“I didn’t get Mitchell, but that’s okay. We moved on from that. The choice turned out to be a good one. I’m not putting everything on Towns, but I’m putting everything on Embiid. That’s the person I’m putting all my money on.”

At the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday night, New York will find out how much draft cash they have. They own the Mavericks’ top-10 protected first-round pick, which they have a 20% chance of keeping.

At the trade deadline, they decided to keep the Mavericks’ draft pick and sell their own for Josh Hart, even though the Mavericks went all-in on a trade for Kyrie Irving.

New York also has lottery-protected picks from the Wizards and Pistons this season. These picks have different rights until the 2027 season, when they would become second-round picks if the Wizards and Pistons keep picking in the top 9 until then.

The Knicks did get the Bucks’ guaranteed top-four pick in the 2025 draft, and they will still have all of their own picks after this season.

“Joel loves Philadelphia, and Philadelphia loves him. He loves that people love him in Philadelphia, and he knows what that means. I think it would be hard for him to follow the “I’m really forcing my way out of here” model, which was a big hit. Embiid, Lowe said.

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