The Houston Rockets are another team to watch in the never-ending drama surrounding the Philadelphia 76ers. First, it was reported that James Harden was eyeing a return to the franchise where he spent nine seasons while winning three NBA scoring titles and an MVP award. Those rumors have subsided as Harden sets his sights on joining the Los Angeles Clippers. His presence alongside Kawhi Leonard and Paul George would form a scary new super-team.
But, what if Joel Embiid was traded to Houston? It didn’t seem to be on anyone’s radar until The Athletic’s Kelly Iko brought it up during a recent podcast appearance. New Rockets head coach Ime Udoka was a top assistant under Brett Brown in Philly where he forged a strong relationship with Embiid. The two men remained fast friends when Udoka was in charge of the Boston Celtics, including their fair share of friendly trash talk over the years.
Embiid and Udoka have a bond, perhaps one that turns the Rockets into instant contenders in the Western Conference. Iko said: “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.”
Despite Alperen Segun (6-foot-11, 243 pounds) quickly developing into a promising young stud at the center spot, no one would turn down the chance to add a perennial MVP candidate like Embiid. If the Sixers could get Segun back in a trade, along with some future draft picks (and maybe Tari Eason), the franchise would have to at least consider it. Stranger things have happened.
Remember, Embiid signed a supermax extension worth $196 million in 2022. He is under contract with the Sixers through the 2026-27 season, although the Big Fella does own a mind-numbing $59 million player option. If he chose to opt-out, then he would be a free agent. The deadline for exercising is June 29, 2026.