Amid all the wheelings and dealings around the NBA at the start of this week, Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo was the biggest name to sign a contract extension. The two-time MVP’s commitment to the franchise for another three seasons is bad news for a group of teams wishing to get their hands on the 28-year-old, one that may have included the Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors were on a potential shortlist of teams for Antetokounmpo, but they’ll now have to pivot their eyes to another of the league’s biggest star’s whose future is slightly clouded.
Joel Embiid is the next superstar player the Golden State Warriors and other NBA teams will monitor for a potential trade.
The current drama in Philadelphia is perhaps the biggest storyline in the league at present — not necessarily because of the wantaway nature of former MVP James Harden, but because of the implications it could have on Joel Embiid’s future.
The facts are that last season’s MVP will be 30 in March and is yet to reach further than the second-round of the playoffs. Part of that is on Embiid whose production has waned at times during the postseason, but 76er General Manager Daryl Morey must surely be feeling the pressure to navigate the Harden situation effectively.
Even early in the offseason, before the whole Harden fiasco had fully developed, Embiid spoke about his desire to simply win a championship regardless of the city in which it’s in.
"“I don’t know where that’s gonna be, whether it’s in Philly or anywhere else, I just want to have a chance to accomplish that. I want to see what it feels like to win that first one, and then you can think about the next one,” Embiid said."
On Tuesday, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer outlined the New York Knicks’ huge interest in Embiid, stating they’d be willing to give up three of Julius Randle, R.J. Barrett, Evan Fournier and Mitchell Robinson (plus picks) to make it happen.
But the Knicks won’t be the only team to be monitoring the Embiid situation. Golden State head coach Steve Kerr clearly has a relationship with the six-time All-Star, having helped convince him to join Team USA ahead of next year’s Olympics.
The tantalizing thought of an Embiid-Stephen Curry pairing is likely to come to fruition in Paris next offseason, but the Warriors should be keeping an eye on whether they could have the duo play together for them at some point in the near future.