I know, I know. This is Philadelphia’s overreaction at its finest. Still, the subject of whether or not the Sixers should trade Joel Embiid has been a major topic of conversation across the city since last week’s Game 7 loss to the Boston Celtics

Joel Embiid is coming off the best year of his career, one where he won the NBA Most Valuable Player award. The fact that this is even a conversation being had is very unsettling. Honestly, both sides have valid arguments, though. 

On the one hand, Joel Embiid just won the MVP. You do not just trade MVPs; in fact, no former MVP has been traded to a new team the year following the award. Embiid cemented himself as one of the top players in the NBA over the course of the last three seasons before taking his throne at the top this season. If the team traded Embiid, you are moving on from the top player in the league; whatever return you get would not be better than him for this upcoming year. 

Over the course of his career, Embiid signified the process, the first time a team ever publicly tanked. During that time, Embiid and the fan base have built a very special relationship. Philadelphia is where Embiid turned from a kid out of college to a (soon-to-be) husband and a father. Ruining this kind of relationship based on an overreaction would play into every anti-Philadelphia stereotype out there. 

https://twitter.com/NBA/status/1654652519497302016?s=20

On the other hand, Embiid’s value may never be higher than it is right now. Even though Embiid is only 30, he has dealt with countless lower-body injuries that will affect how he ages drastically. Would it surprise you if Embiid took a step back next year?

It also seems likely that James Harden has played his last game as a Sixer, with rumors swirling that he will become a Houston Rocket once free agency opens on July 1. The question then becomes, what in the world will the Sixers do to help Embiid? The Sixers will likely be moving on from most of last year’s roster with a new coach coming in and multiple players set to test free agency. As great as Tyrese Maxey is, he is not a suitable co-star for Embiid, not yet, anyway. 

By the time the team can assemble a competent team around Embiid, will he still be the same player? Who knows.

I do not believe that we are at the point of Embiid requesting a trade out of Philadelphia, and if he does, that would completely change this conversation. The Sixers owe it to themselves to retain Embiid for at least one more year and give it a shot even without Harden.

Daryl Morey was brought here with many expectations and has failed to live up to them; this upcoming season is on him to figure out how to maximize Embiid, not get rid of him.


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