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Embiid on Harden’s trade request: ‘hopefully his mindset can be changed.’

Joel Embiid weighed in on the current trade request from his point guard, James Harden. The Beard is hoping to land on the Clippers, but Embiid says “obviously” they want him back.

Philadelphia 76ers v Boston Celtics - Game Seven Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

James Harden stunned a lot of fans when he opted into his one-year player option, simultaneously issuing a trade request. Apparently, the Philadelphia 76ers weren’t prepared to make the soon-to-be 34-year-old guard the long-term offer he coveted.

Harden, we’ve learned, would prefer a trade to the Los Angeles Clippers, hoping to join forces with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard out West.

But thus far, there hasn’t appeared to be much traction on a deal. Daryl Morey and the Sixers may be aiming for cap flexibility in the future, and the Clippers haven’t sounded totally thrilled to offer significant draft capital or talented young players. Philadelphia, it’s been reported, would prefer to convince James to change his mind. According to Adrian Wojnarowski, it’s actually “more than conceivable” that Harden could be back.

But with another trade stalemate potentially hanging over the team’s head this summer, Showtime’s Rachel Nichols caught up with the reigning MVP, Joel Embiid.

She wanted to see if the back-to-back scoring champion would weigh in on Harden’s situation.

Per Nichols, released on Twitter:

Nichols: “How did you feel when James told you, or someone told you, that he wanted to be out of Philadelphia?”

Embiid: “Disappointed. But then again, I also understand it’s business, people make decisions and I’m more appreciative of the way he’s handled the whole situation. We’re gonna be boys forever. Want him to come back obviously, so we can go out and accomplish what we want which is to win a championship. So hopefully his mindset can be changed. But other than that, I’m just so happy to be his friend. We’re close and we’ve grown since he got here and that’s what I’m excited about. And I’m excited to keep that friendship for the rest of our lives.”

There’s a lot for Morey to unpack here. We can expect that whatever his Plan A is, he’ll have numerous backup plans as well. But Embiid sounds as if he’s hoping for Harden to return. If you wanted to read between the lines, Joel freely adding that he and James will “be boys forever” could (arguably) hint at an acceptance that a deal may actually be struck in the end. Embiid sounds at peace, or at least understands things are out of his hands at this point.

As fans, we’re also waiting on the edge of our seats to see what happens with Paul Reed’s contract.

If Harden’s mind can ultimately be changed, it will likely be because of his friendship with his teammates. Because it seems as if the relationship between him and Daryl Morey right now is strained to say the least. Harden was partying with teammates at former Sixers minority stake owner, and Founder of Fanatics, Michael Rubin’s house, at a party over Fourth of July Weekend. And as Nichols notes in the tweet, the Joel and James were apparently partying some more out in Vegas, during a Summer League blowout.

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