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NBA | Feb 15

Was Joel Embiid About to Become a Laker?

Apparently, the Sixers Wanted LeBron James but Rob Pelinka Quickly Turned Things Around and Asked About Embiid

Was Joel Embiid About to Become a Laker?
LeBron James #23 and Joel Embiid #21 | Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images/AFP

Can You Imagine It? 😍

Embiid on the Lakers would be huge…

Though there weren’t any huge names dealt at the NBA trade deadline, that doesn’t mean there weren’t blockbuster trades discussed. LeBron James turned out to be a popular name when it came to NBA trade rumors.

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The Los Angeles Lakers star put out some cryptic stuff on social media and people took it as him wanting a trade. However, that wasn’t actually the case. The Warriors tried to trade for him and were turned down by LeBron and the Lakers. It’s not a surprise Golden State was interested considering how fondly LeBron and Steph Curry have spoken to each other.

But there was a surprise team that was looking into LeBron, based on some of the latest NBA news.

“After seeing James’ cryptic social media post of an hourglass a week before the trade deadline, Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey called [Lakers general manager] Pelinka to probe on a James trade and was immediately told that James wasn’t available,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne reported. “In fact, Pelinka responded by asking Morey if Joel Embiid was available, sources said. And that ended that brief conversation.”


The 76ers have been disappointed in the playoffs for years now so adding a proven winner like LeBron would’ve been huge. That said, it sounds like the cost would’ve been having to give up Joel Embiid, which Philadelphia wasn’t about to do.

It does bring up an interesting hypothetical, though. Embiid on the Lakers would be huge. Many of the greatest big men in NBA history eventually made their way to Los Angeles. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, and Shaquille O’Neal were all considered the best centers in the NBA for points in their career and all of them played for the Lakers.

It only makes sense that Embiid would eventually wear the purple and gold. Unfortunately, the 76ers weren’t ready to consider that. It would’ve been really interesting to see what a hypothetical Embiid-Lakers trade would look like.

Since LeBron was what opened up the line of communication, I’d imagine Morey would’ve wanted him. Embiid is much younger than LeBron so the Lakers would have to sweeten the pot. I’d imagine multiple first-round picks would have to be involved and possibly Austin Reaves.

Even then, I don’t know if the 76ers would be happy with that return. Joel Embiid’s stats have been incredible this year but he’s not going to play enough NBA games to qualify for MVP. He’s the face of the franchise for the 76ers so he’s not going anywhere unless he forces his way up. Perhaps when that day comes, he’ll have his eyes on Los Angeles.

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