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#pounditTuesday, June 18, 2024

Western Conference team is one to watch for Joel Embiid?

Joel Embiid with a straight face

Apr 16, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) before game one of the first round for the 2022 NBA playoffs against the Toronto Raptors at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Embiid might potentially be pulling a reverse James Harden.

Kelly Iko of The Athletic appeared this week on “The Athletic NBA Show” and revealed that the Houston Rockets may be a team to watch for with the reigning MVP Embiid. Iko also named the New York Knicks as a possible suitor for Embiid, who has already been linked to the Knicks before.

“Another team [to watch] is Houston, just because of the bond between Joel and Ime [Udoka],” said Iko, per RocketsWire. “Maybe in the next year or so … because obviously, if Joel stays this season [in Philadelphia] and plays it out, that’s one thing. But moving forward, I do think that New York and Houston are the two teams to watch if Joel said, ‘I want to leave, too.’”

Udoka, the new Rockets head coach, coached Embiid as an assistant for the 76ers during the 2019-20 season. Houston also has a rich pool of under-25 talents and complemented them this offseason by signing playoff-tested veterans like Fred VanVleet, Dillon Brooks, and Jeff Green as well.

The situation in Philly is a total wild card right now with Harden, Embiid’s co-star, wanting out and ready to go scorched-earth to get his way. Embiid is under contract for three more guaranteed seasons, but he recently triggered speculation over his own future. If Embiid asks out before 2026 (the earliest that he can become a free agent), the Rockets (along with the Knicks) could indeed be at the forefront of that conversation.

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