Latest On Joel Embiid, Sixers

Things have felt a little off in Philadelphia this season. Widely considered a top-two team in the Eastern Conference entering the season, the fifth-seeded Sixers have fallen short of those expectations so far and have struggled to smoothly incorporate major offseason signee Al Horford.

Franchise center Joel Embiid hasn’t been immune to the ups and downs of the 76ers’ season, having spoken last week about wanting to “get back to the fun Joel.” On Sunday, when Philadelphia hosted the Bulls, Embiid heard some boos from fans during pre-game intros and later appeared to shush the home crowd and say “Shut the f–k up” after hitting a dagger three in the fourth quarter (video link via Michael Lee of The Athletic).

Embiid, who claimed after the game that his comment was aimed at himself and not Philadelphia fans, said he didn’t care how it looked, adding that he wants to get back to being a “good a–hole.” On Monday, he posted an Instagram photo of that shushing moment, accompanied by the caption, You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

Not content to leave it at that, Embiid later exchanged comments with Heat swingman Jimmy Butler, who replied to his former teammate’s Instagram post with the message, “I know a place where villains are welcome,” an apparent reference to Miami. Embiid’s response? “Damn right my brother.” (hat tip to Bleacher Report).

It’s premature to read too much into Embiid’s on-court actions on Sunday and his social media posts after the game. Considering the way the 76ers’ season has played out, the big man was probably just letting out some frustration and then engaging in some light trolling. He published a tweet later on Monday night reasserting his commitment to Philadelphia.

Still, given the ongoing drama, this is a situation worth keeping an eye on. When the Sixers were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs last spring, head coach Brett Brown‘s job security seemed tenuous, and if the team doesn’t advance even further in this year’s postseason, changes of some kind are probably coming.

A head coaching change and/or secondary roster moves are much more likely than anything drastic involving Embiid or Ben Simmons, but teams around the NBA are monitoring the situation. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on his podcast this week (hat tip to RealGM) that rival executives have started to openly wonder whether the Sixers would consider moving Embiid. As Windhorst acknowledged, that’s an extremely unlikely scenario, but it’s notable that execs don’t believe it’s an impossibility.

“My point is people are talking about that,” Windhorst said, per RealGM. “I don’t think they would do that without making an adjustment to the head coach. It’s such a radical thing. But the fact that we’re in mid-February and the people who work in the league, who have to prepare in advance, are mulling over Joel Embiid potentially coming to market, whether that’s true or not… I mean, (Sixers owner) Josh Harris can come on this podcast and deny it if he wants, but the fact people are talking about it, is not good. It’s a symptom of where they are.”

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40 thoughts on “Latest On Joel Embiid, Sixers

  1. Before even considering it, they should try a new HC and FO, who together bring a more conventional approach to the team’s structure and the game. It’s a lot easier to replace a HC and FO, than talents like Embid and Simmons – you can’t really.

  2. joemoes

    Embiid for Wiggins/golden states first/ and the timberwolves first. Only possibility of moving him: opens up the lane for Simmons. Sixers can try drafting Wiseman.

    • Michael Chaney

      If the goal is to open the lane for Simmons, why draft Wiseman? He has less range than Embiid does

    • MrWood

      Philly ain’t trading JoJo for #2 & #5 pick in 1 draft, especially 2020. Then they gotta absorb Wiggins s**t tier contract.. yuck. Hell AD who’s the only comparison we can even have for JoJo got flipped for (4) 1R picks, Ingram, Lonzo, Hart AND 2 swap right picks when Lakers are busted AF. Yet JoJo catching (2) 1R? :hell to the naw:

      • SheltonMatthews

        1. AD is better than Embiid 2. Those picks are actually in two different drafts (the MIN pick is 2021) and 3. I don’t think that would be the entire trade, but it’s a decent start.

      • joemoes

        It was 3 firsts and a pick swap. You have to remember lonzo stock was very low. Wiggins isn’t as bad as people say his contract isn’t good but he’s not an awful player. The pelicans actually traded the lakers 4th overall.

        If golden state gets a top 2 pick that’s worth WAY more then lakers 4th. We’re talking LaMelo or Wiseman, Anthony Edwards. It’s a solid start. You could trade Simmons to who I think will be LA bound after his conTract. He’s a rich Paul
        Client he’s been compared to Lebron, he dates a jenner, he’s from Australia. I’d trade Simmons first.

    • If Embid is put on the market, then at least half the teams in the league will be bidding. It’s not an AD situation (where he named 2 teams, and could walk the following year if he didn’t get his way). Most of the likely bidders are in a position to put together a better offer than the GSW. It’s safe to say that bad max contracts won’t be a part of the package.

  3. Trade one of the top 5 players in the league or fire a coach who is 62 games below .500 for his career and won two playoff series in seven years? Tough choice.

    • rgreen

      The first 4 years of that have a asterisk attached to them,he was coaching a college basketball team.Only players he had that aren’t on another teams bench right now,are Covington and Saric,and they’re both role players.

      • Actually, I agree. I retract my statement regarding Embiid’s status. However, I still think it is silly to trade him as opposed to firing Browny.

  4. Jason Lancaster

    Trading Simmons makes the most sense, unless Embid telegraphs a desire to leave.

    The head coach is not the problem; the problem is Simmons and Embid can’t thrive together. They clog the lane for each other and marginalize one another’s talents each possession.

    • Pablo Boner

      The big IF has been whether or not Ben can work the 3P shot into his game. It’s maddening to me that he’s only attempted 6 of them this year. I don’t think he should start jacking them up at random, but he could at least add the corner 3P. Attempting 2 a game would be a start.

      • Jason Lancaster

        Fair point, but I think Simmons is more of a big than a guard. He should be playing with four shooters, just like Giannis.

        Still, I’m sure Philly will wait until they have tried everything else.

  5. Skip, Tampa

    It seems to have morphed into a chemistry, ego issue.
    Kind of like the Kobe and Shaq blow-up.
    Actually a Heat trade could work on paper with Bam at the PF spot.
    With a fresh +$25M in cap space. Issue would come down to players and picks.
    Not that Philly would be thrilled losing Butler and Ebid to the Heat.

  6. rgreen

    We need a real pg.Simmons is a forward who can handle the ball,but his unwillingness to shoot the ball limits the offense.

    And signing Horford was a desperate move.We waited until the last possible chance to use the cap space we held onto,and then used it to add a big to a big lineup in a guard dominated league.

    • rgreen

      Not only did we add a big,we added a older big.His contract is probably as movable as Elton Brands was during his time here.

  7. jeremyn

    Man… if Embiid could force his way to Miami… then they got Giannis in 2021…… that might be the most dangerous big three in history right there… tough, gritty, in your face… kinda like the bad boy pistons on steroids.

    • Buckman

      Embiid/Giannis would have the same problem that Embiid/Simmons have and Jimmy Butler is not going to spread the floor shooting 25% from three so there is another player who is only a threat inside of 10 feet. Maybe Spoelstra is smarter that than Brown and can figure it out but I doubt it.

      • Also, this is probably the last year Jimmy Butler is an elite player. Wrong side of 30, has a history of missing games, etc…

        • jeremyn

          Wade was also “the wrong side of 30” in the Lebron era… Butler’s game goes well beyond athletic ability… watch him play and you will see what I mean.. he’d be happy scoring zero points with 5 steals and 20 assists.. or score 40 with no assists…. he’s that type of player. Think Lebron without the same skill ceiling.

  8. El Don

    Well done Joel, no better way to silence a crowd than kill the game like he did. Fans should know better than to mess with one of the best ever!

    • SheltonMatthews

      He‘s probably one of the best (to be named Joel) ever, I’ll give him that.

      • Chief Two Hands

        Embiid and Simmons will never be a championship duo. Embiid can’t stay healthy and appears very soft in general. Simmons is just overrated. He is practically scared to death of shooting outside to help spread the floor.

        • rgreen

          Embiid and Simmons can work,just not with Simmons at the point.As a center/power forward combo,with a PG like Jrue or Chris Paul running the point,the combination could be really good.

  9. Lefty_Orioles_Fan

    Is this any real surprise? The Sixers never built those team properly and Brett Brown never got the job done

  10. Buckman

    The chemistry issues are becoming more public with each passing week. Brown is losing control of the team. A new coach would need a Ph.D. in counseling and psychiatry to keep it all together.

  11. Skip, Tampa

    Horford may be the first to jump ship because he’s not very happy with how he’s being played. Plus PF is exactly where Simmons needs to be playing.

  12. Exactly why Embiid should leave. If your a leader of a team, if your focussed on winning, if your a top 20 player in this league you don’t act like this.
    Ben Simmons never gets caught slipping like this man and worse of all he knew he would be caught out and the world would see.

    Come end of season Embiid out.

    1. Embid for CJ McCollum, Nassir Little and 2 firsts (imagine Lillard and Embiid)
    2. Embiid for Jayson Tatum (sign extension and trade) plus 2 future first.
    3. Embiid for Devin Booker and 2 future firsts
    4. Embiid for Bradley Beal and 2 future firsts
    5. Embiid for Buddy Heild and 3 future firsts and 2 future seconds

  13. formerlyz

    And so it begins…I called it. In my opinion, a healthy Joel Embiid on the Heat is arguably potentially the best player in the league

    I talked about hearing of the idea of Embiid not necessarily being happy in late July. When the season started, and Embiid was talking about Jimmy Butler, that really opened my eyes to the possibility of Miami. This is what I wrote on this site in late July on a Sixers post:

    “What I’m about to say, I was going to try to keep to myself/whoever else heard the same thing I did, but it was so shocking to me, and especially after everything philly went through to get to this point, it’s just really hard to believe for multiple reasons. I obviously wouldnt take it as gospel or anything like that, but it is worth consideration, not that these things always come to fruition…That being said, these were the same people that said stuff about Kawhi, his uncle, and him leaving the Spurs, and looking at the Clippers, with his uncle angling him towards NY like 3-4 years ago. They also said the same about Kyrie back then. And I never believed the Kawhi stuff until he got traded…

    Anyway, apparently, Joel Embiid isnt the happiest person with his situation, and potentially could want to move elsewhere. I’ve heard he isnt happy about the offense not going through him more consistently, and certain people being paid over him, and certain additions to the roster. Again, I’m not saying it’s a for sure thing, but I feel like its something to think about. If they put keeping Embiid in jeopardy, they royally messed up. Again, the issue didn’t make sense to me, but I said the same thing for multiple years about Kawhi. Not sure how to really have a conversation about this b/c its pure speculation, in my opinion, but ya…its out there. He has 4 years left on his deal though, so I’m kind of confused on that end. When they were talking about it, they wrongly mentioned he only has 2 years left, so not sure if they meant it’s been 2 years since he signed the deal, or if they were just wrong about that.

    Not some secret place or anything. It was on NBA radio, but as I said, these specific people were on point before, and the way it was phrased was similar to the stuff theyd said in the past”

  14. formerlyz

    Not going to lie, I’m convinced Simmons doesnt like Embiid. Countless times I’ve seen him look off a wide open Embiid, or when Embiid has a big advantage in a situation, and pass it to the other side of the floor, while Embiid stands there with his arms out

    • x%sure

      The article, and quote above, is a story about Embiid, but the change-agent is likely Simmons (as well as is losing too often). I doubt Horford or JRich is rocking the boat.
      Embiid has always been moody & public and Simmons, I think too unknown.

  15. x%sure

    Okay then time for one to go, if it comes down to “who’s the man”. Sorry coach.

    Does anyone know though, what Simmons might want more specifically, in order to be more relaxed. In terms of public tweeterhood he is opposite of Embiid, one of the problems. He may even feel supressed!

    Butler’s tweet may mean Simmons wants “good” or goodness.

  16. Maybe Warriors could’ve landed Embiid in the off season for Russell.

    While they have very valuable draft picks, I don’t think they will put together a package good enough for Joel.

  17. dynasty in boston

    This team will start tanking again soon. It’s what they are. Should move the franchise to Seattle.

  18. jump shot

    First, there definitely needs to be a new Sixers coach in ‘20-21.
    Secondly, the struggle with Simmons/Embiid (obviously) is that you don’t which one to trade because of “hypotheticals”…. will Embiid ever stay healthy or will Simmons ever shoot (jumpers). If we (or they) definitively knew the answer to either question, it’d be much easier going forward. As it is, you have to guess – and a wrong guess will set the franchise back 5 years, at least. Changing coaches while keeping both players is the safest – and best – route to go while letting those “hypotheticals” play out a little longer.

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