NBA: Joel Embiid was ‘shocked’ with Doc Rivers’ firing amid potential trade rumors

Joel Embiid was ‘shocked’ with Doc Rivers’ firing amid potential trade rumors starting to loom over the ‘frustrated’ 76ers stars future

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Joel Embiid was ‘shocked’ with Doc Rivers’ firing amid potential trade rumors starting to loom over the 76ers star’s future, with reports also suggesting that James Harden could be on his way out of Philadelphia too.

‘I am here to tell you right now, Joel Embiid wasn’t happy that Doc Rivers got fired. Not from everything that I’m hearing, and I worked in Philadelphia for 17 years, and I still know a lot of people within the Philadelphia 76ers organization. I ain’t guessing. I’m telling you,’ said ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith ahead of the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday.  

On Wednesday, Sixers GM Daryl Morey had been asked about Smith’s comments and the long-time NBA executive confirmed the center’s frustration with the decision.

‘They had a strong relationship,’ Morey said. ‘I have to make tough calls all the time with trades Joel was disappointed in… I think it’s natural to be very close with the people in the locker room. He was very close with coach Rivers and was shocked with the change. 

‘It’s my job to help convince him that the new coach is someone he’ll have a great relationship with.’ 

Philadelphia center and franchise player Joel Embiid wasn’t happy with the firing of Doc Rivers

Smith also suggested that Harden could be behind the Sixers hierarchy’s choice to part ways with Rivers and that the next head coach could determine Embiid’s future with the franchise. 

‘If (Mike) D’Antoni is the next head coach because we all know that’s who James Harden wants, and Daryl Morey is the person in the position to give him exactly what he wants,’ Smith said. 

‘If that were to transpire, imagine how ridiculous that is. Joel Embiid is the reigning league MVP, a 7-foot-1 behemoth of a man, one of the most talented big men we have ever seen. Clearly, the face of the franchise, but the franchise would be capitulating to James Harden.’ 

In order to seek pastures new, Embiid would have to submit a formal trade request to the 76ers front office, unlike Harden, who’s set to be a free agent this offseason if he opts to not pick up his second-year player option and has been linked with a return to the Rockets. 

On Tuesday, Smith touched base on the recent firings of several NBA head coaches since the postseason started in April. 

‘If Mike D’Antoni ends up getting the 76ers job with Mark Jackson, Monty Williams, Nick Nurse, and Mike Budenholzer available – if Mike D’Antoni gets the job, if that happens – James Harden went and got Doc Rivers fired. Remember I said that,’ the ESPN NBA analyst said ‘First Take’.

More to follow…