James Harden Wasn’t Joel Embiid’s First Choice For 76ers

James Harden Wasn’t Joel Embiid’s First Choice For 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers pulled off inarguably the biggest move of the NBA Trade Deadline when they acquired James Harden.

In one fatal swoop the front office was unable to unload Ben Simmons, who was an immense drain on the organization, while adding a player that Daryl Morey had coveted for a very long time. It was a huge coup for all involved.

Interestingly enough, as happy as Joel Embiid was to get Harden, and as glad as he was to be rid of Simmons, the deal that Philly pulled off wasn’t actually the one he wanted.

Embiid, it would appear, had his sights on playing alongside a different superstar at first.

According to Bill Simmons of The Ringer, Embiid’s first choice of running mate was actually Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards. When that failed to materialize, he settled for second-best: Harden.

“Part of the reason the trade stuff took so long was because there was the Sixers side that wanted Harden—obviously Daryl [Morey], because Harden is his guy,” he said. “But Embiid really wanted Beal because he felt like he was a better fit and was pushing, pushing, pushing.”

It’s unsurprising that Embiid’s first choice was Beal. Putting aside that he is the more logical on-court fit, Beal is also much easier to get along with. All his teammates love him. Conversely, everyone Harden played with on the Nets seemed to hate him.

Yes, Harden was the one who demanded out of Brooklyn – but there’s a reason the organization was so happy to oblige.

Harden comes with a lot of baggage.

That said, what’s done is done. Harden is a Sixer now, and it will be interesting to see what he and Embiid will ultimately be able to accomplish together.

Related: Isiah Thomas Settles LeBron James vs Michael Jordan Debate

Carlos Garcia

A longtime sports reporter, Carlos Garcia has written about some of the biggest and most notable athletic events of the last 5 years. He has been credentialed to cover MLS, NBA and MLB games all over the United States. His work has been published on Fox Sports, Bleacher Report, AOL and the Washington Post.

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