Knicks are ‘ideal trade candidate’ if 76ers superstar demands trade

NBA: Playoffs-Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers, joel embiid, knicks

The New York Knicks have initiated their off-season moves by trading Obi Toppin to the Indiana Pacers and signing Golden State Warriors’ sharpshooter Donte DiVincenzo on a four-year, $50 million deal.

This exchange leaves the Knicks down a power forward but adds another shooting guard, providing the team with improved spacing, solid defense, and three-point shooting capabilities — all areas desperately needing bolstering.

The Embiid Scenario: A Potential Superstar Acquisition

Unless a superstar like Joel Embiid initiates a departure from Philadelphia, the Knicks’ roster might closely resemble the 2022-23 season lineup.

James Harden’s expected trade could trigger significant changes within the 76ers. If no substantial moves are made to support Embiid’s championship pursuit, he may seek a new team more aligned with his ambitions.

As Stefan Bondy of the NYDN posits, “If (James) Harden is out, what does that mean for the Sixers’ contending timeline and Joel Embiid, in particular? Embiid, the league’s reigning MVP, has been mentioned around league circles as New York’s ideal trade candidate if he ever demands out.”

Financial Implications of an Embiid Trade

Embiid, the former third overall pick of 2014, is entering a four-year, $213.3 million contract, with $47.6 million due for the upcoming season. This accounts for 35% of the league salary cap.

The Knicks would need to allocate substantial funds to bring Embiid on board, necessitating the movement of high-priced players such as Evan Fournier ($18.9 million) and perhaps RJ Barrett or Julius Randle.

Evaluating Embiid’s Impact: On-Court Performance and Potential Pairing

The Knicks could employ innovative tactics to secure Embiid, who posted career-highs of 33.1 points this past season, a .548 field goal percentage, .573 effective field goal right, 10.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.7 blocks over 66 games. A foot injury hindered Embiid’s performance down the stretch and into the postseason.

A potential Embiid pairing with a player like Jalen Brunson could significantly benefit the Knicks, yielding an elite point guard-center combo. Additionally, Embiid’s defensive prowess and exceptional court vision, which often warrant double-teams, could create opportunities for other players.

Assessing the Trade Costs: High Stakes for a High Reward

Securing Embiid would entail substantial trade costs, potentially leading to significant roster alterations for the Knicks — a less-than-ideal scenario.

However, Embiid’s addition would instantly elevate the Knicks to championship contender status. Should Embiid request a trade, the Knicks would undoubtedly be a viable consideration.

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