With all of their own first-round picks and swaps, plus some additional draft capital, the Knicks have been linked to multiple stars over the past year-plus, including Joel Embiid. The reigning MVP’s former Sixers teammate, P.J. Tucker, says Embiid is well aware of the rumors, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Post.
“Of course, he hears it,” Tucker said Monday. “But you never know with these situations and how it’s going to play out, what guys are thinking, what’s happening behind closed doors. You never know.”
As Bondy notes, Embiid would have to request a trade for there to even be a remote chance of him landing in New York, and with the 76ers off to a 6-1 start, there’s certainly no indication that’s in the cards anytime soon. Tucker says any outside perception of dysfunction in Philadelphia is misguided.
“It wasn’t like that all,” he said. “The media is going to spin it how you want. But Philly has got a good team. We had a good team. … I think all the noise was just that: just noise.”
Here’s more on the Knicks:
- RJ Barrett has played well in each of the past two games since returning from a left knee injury, which the team has called patellar tendinopathy. As Ian Begley of SNY.tv writes, Barrett says he’s going to have to play through some soreness “for a little bit,” with the injury a result of wear and tear rather than a specific incident. “I’m going to have to live with the pain,” Barrett said. “Got to be mentally tough, fight through it.”
- Center Mitchell Robinson is averaging a career-best 12.4 rebounds through eight games, drawing praise from head coach Tom Thibodeau in the process. “I think the big thing is it’s not just the offense. He’s added the defensive rebounding, he’s been a monster on the boards,” Thibodeau said, per Peter Botte of The New York Post. “I think he’s the best offensive rebounder, we already established that. And then now he’s fourth in the league in rebounding. Every night he’s got bodies on him and he’s done a great job for us.”
- Robinson’s incredible offensive rebounding prowess and improved “discipline and physicality” on defense are among the early-season storylines explored by Fred Katz of The Athletic, with Barrett also earning a spot due to his evolution as a decision-maker. Robinson’s defensive effort on Victor Wembanyama during Wednesday’s dismantling of the Spurs was particularly noteworthy, writes Steve Popper of Newsday (subscriber link).