Grade the Trade: 76ers’ rival makes intriguing Embiid offer

Joel Embiid, RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson - Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Joel Embiid, RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson - Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /
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Philadelphia 76ers, Joel Embiid
Philadelphia 76ers, Joel Embiid. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

The team that wins a trade in the NBA is the team that receives the best player in the deal. This is the most accurate statement with years of historical proof in the league. Applying this to the proposed Embiid trade tells you that the Philadelphia 76ers are losers in this trade. You would also be widely considered a loser if you traded the reigning MVP the season following him winning the award.

Philadelphia cannot make this trade. There is the obvious point just noted about Embiid coming off his first MVP season, but it goes deeper than that. The New York Knicks are an Atlantic Division rival. The Sixers would be directly competing against Embiid in the Eastern Conference for years and it would hurt to be dominated by him.

Do you remember how it has felt seeing Jimmy Butler have playoff success in Miami while the Sixers sit at home? Multiply that pain by 100. Butler was in Philly for barely long enough to have a cheesesteak. Embiid has been our white knight for almost a decade. He was the light at the end of the tunnel of the darkest days in our franchise history, The Process. And what, we just move on from him for younger players and draft picks? That feels so wrong.

I mentioned on the previous slide that there is a benefit to getting ahead of a player’s trade request, namely not losing leverage. It does not matter for Embiid; you hold onto Embiid until the last second you have to give him up. Going across sports, this is similar to the Los Angeles Angels dilemma with Shohei Ohtani. Do you want to be the team that traded Ohtani, or Embiid? Or would you rather be the team that tried to keep the face of your franchise, maybe even the league? I know what side I would want to be on.

Grade C+

The grade is not to say the Knicks do not have intriguing assets that the Sixers should be interested in. The grade is more focused on the trading of potentially the greatest player in the history of the Sixers franchise, and trading him to the Knicks.