NBA News: Joel Embiid Didn't Want To Play With James Harden, Says Insider

Joel Embiid
Wikimedia | Blueairforce

Ernesto Cova

Regardless of the personnel, it seems like the Philadelphia 76ers just can't get over the hump. It's been two decades since they've been to the NBA Finals and that doesn't figure to change any time soon.

Even despite Joel Embiid's MVP-caliber season, it seems like there's always something holding this team back. This time, it may have been James Harden's poor play.

Embiid Wanted Bradley Beal

Bradley Beal
Wikimedia | Dr. Dunkenstein

Harden was a no-show in the postseason and Embiid was clearly frustrated with him. Moreover, he didn't even want to play with Harden to begin with, as he wanted the Sixers to trade for Bradley Beal:

“I would bet money on, If I had to bet... If there was an 8-1, 7-1 odds on a sign-in trade for Bradley Beal and James Harden, I would bet on that," NBA insider Billl Simmons reported. "That’s who (Joel) Embiid wanted in February, nobody believed me. I think that’s what they wanted all along. Beal got hurt, and Embiid begrudgingly accepted the Harden trade.”

Harden Isn't That Guy Anymore

James Harden
Giphy | NBA

Embiid's frustration with Harden was quite evident following their elimination. He threw some shade at him by stating that he's not the same star he was in Houston:

“I think obviously, I’m sure since we got him everybody expected Houston James Harden. But that’s not who he is anymore,” Embiid said. “He’s more of a playmaker. I thought, yeah at times he could have been, well all of us, could have been more aggressive. All of us, whether it’s Tyrese, Tobias, or guys coming off the bench.”

Sixers Should've Kept Butler

Jimmy Butler
Wikimedia | Bagumba

To make things even more interesting, Embiid showed a lot of praise for Jimmy Butler and criticized his team for letting him go a couple of years ago:

“I still don’t know how we let him go,” Embiid said. “Like I said, I’m happy for him. I won’t sit here and say I didn’t wish he was my teammate. Still, don’t know how we let him go. I wish I could have gone to battle with him still. But it is what it is. Just got to keep building and keep trying to reach that goal.”

What's Next For Philly?

Doc Rivers
Shutterstock | 564025

Most fans and insiders believe that Doc Rivers was never the right guy for this job. However, Daryl Morey has reassured his commitment to Rivers and will bring him back to coach next season.

As for Harden, he's eligible to sign a max contract extension but at this point in his career and given his history of playoff struggles and poor work ethic, that may not be the wisest choice for them.