Sixers fans started the week in fear of losing team star Joel Embiid after one of his quotes went viral. The reigning MVP simply said he was more than ready to do “whatever it takes” to win a championship, even if it means achieving it “in Philly or anywhere else.”
Consequently, both media and fans began speculating on the big man’s future, and putting in question if the 29-year-old might want a move outside of Pennsylvania this summer.
The 76ers president for basketball operations Daryl Morey had to address the situation, as he’s been dealing with James Harden’s reported transfer request in recent weeks. The executive was quick to attach little importance to Embiid’s words, explaining he wasn’t serious about leaving.
“Yeah, he had some fun with that yesterday,” Morey told NBC Sports. “That was a very Joel day yesterday.”
Daryl Morey called Joel Embiid after hearing his recent comments, @ramonashelburne said on NBA Today.
— Philly Sixers Galaxy (@sixers_galaxy) July 18, 2023
“He made those comments a bunch of days ago at sort of a semi-private event; they just got published. I spoke to him at length yesterday. He spoke to Coach Nurse yesterday. He’s very excited. Coach Nurse is planning to do some innovative things for training camp that Joel’s excited about,” he shared.
Morey then decided to add some context to Joel’s remarks, as it was hard to believe that the player was just playing around with such a touchy subject.
“Look, part of it’s just, at the end of the day, he’s talking about the business of the NBA,” he assured. “In his mind, he wants to win here. He wants to win it for Philly. That’s the only place he wants to win. He absolutely was referencing that it’s not totally in his control where he is at all times.”
So according to President Morey, Philly fans can relax as he guarantees their superstar is there to stay. However, one of the main reasons that the center is uncomfortable is the fact that his teammate Harden might be leaving to play for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Embiid recently told Showtime he felt disappointed when asked about Harden’s request to leave. “But then again, I also understand it’s business. People make decisions. I’m more appreciative of the way he’s handled the whole situation. We’re going to be boys forever.
“I want him to come back, obviously, so that we can go out and accomplish what we want, which is to win a championship. So hopefully his mindset can be changed,” he said.
Sources around the league guarantee that Embiid hasn’t expressed his team his desire to leave
Just as Daryl Morey explained to the press that Joel’s main objective is to conquer the NBA title with the Sixers, sources around the league have confirmed that he has no desire to leave Philadelphia.
“As for the question of whether Embiid might be trying to leave Philly anytime soon, a high-ranking Sixers source told The Athletic that Embiid or his representatives have not shared any such message with the team,” NBA insider Sam Amick posted.
Some other sectors of the press have insisted that the big man wishes to leave if Harden isn’t re-signed:
According to the reporter, the 76ers maintain an intact belief that Embiid will become one of those franchise players like what Kobe Bryant was to the Los Angeles Lakers, and will play the rest of their career with them.
“In fact, the organization’s belief remains that Embiid would love to go the way of Dirk Nowitzki or Kobe Bryant and stay with one team for his entire career. The source was granted anonymity because these sorts of matters aren’t typically discussed publicly,” he said.
Source: Basketball Insider