Atlantic Notes: Embiid, G. Williams, Stevens, Raptors

Joel Embiid has shaken up Sixers fans with comments he made during an interview at the Uninterrupted Film Festival in Los Angeles, tweets Derek Bodner of The Daily Six. The reigning MVP talked about his desire to capture an NBA title, but he raised the possibility that it may not happen in Philadelphia (video link).

“I just want to win a championship. Whatever it takes,” Embiid said. “I don’t know where that’s gonna be, whether it’s in Philly or anywhere else, I just want to have a chance to accomplish that.”

The 29-year-old center hasn’t advanced past the second round of the playoffs in his nine years with the Sixers, including a seven-game loss to the Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals last season. The team’s status as a legitimate title contender may be in jeopardy in the wake of James Harden‘s trade request.

The Knicks have been repeatedly mentioned as a potential landing spot for Embiid if he ever decides to ask the Sixers for a trade. He’s under contract for three more seasons and has a $59MM player option for 2026/27.

Whether it was his intention or not, Embiid’s comments sent a clear message to the Sixers front office that they have to handle the Harden situation correctly, observes Kyle Neubeck of The Philly Voice. Management can’t afford to take a step back this season, knowing that its best player might be starting to consider other options.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Grant Williams tells Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe that he began to realize his future was somewhere else when he and the Celtics failed to reach an agreement on a rookie scale extension last summer. “I kind of had perspective,” said Williams, who was shipped to the Mavericks in a sign-and-trade deal. “Even after the season and before the Kristaps (Porzingis) trade, I had some understanding of what I was trying to accomplish in free agency, and where I saw myself moving forward.”
  • Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens landed one first-round pick, six second-rounders and a second-round swap this summer, but he’s not intending to use most of them, Himmelsbach adds in another Boston Globe story. “The coach in me would tell you I don’t have a ton of interest in picking eight second-round picks,” Stevens said. “But eventually those are trade chips. Those are potentially good second-round picks that you can use.”
  • Rival teams are skeptical that the Raptors really plan to part with Pascal Siakam or any of their other top players, Marc Stein states in his latest Substack column. However, Stein said that after being at Summer League, he got the “distinct impression” that Toronto will explore making another significant move or two before training camp.
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