Why should the OKC Thunder make a Joel Embiid sized splash? Would it make sense for their current direction?
The NBA is all about windows, windows for free agency, windows for how long a player will be on a rookie contract, and the proverbial championship window. Sometimes it is hard to tell when the latter window is cracked, just letting in a draft or wide open.
However, it is much easier to see when the window for a title is closing, and that is what is happening in Philly. Once Ben Simmons went rogue, the team was forced to move on; they moved on to Harden; that was equally as big of a disaster.
If Joel Embiid has not already asked for a trade, his recent social media activity is not a good sign for Philly fans.
Shifting to the Thunder perspective, regardless if they can land Joel Embiid or not, it feels like their title window is already cracked because they have a Superstar in Gilgeous-Alexander, a strong core of Jalen Williams, Holmgren, Giddey, and vital role players for their supporting cast putting the Thunder in an excellent position for years to come, whether a blockbuster deal happens or not.
In conclusion, the NBA is in the era of duos; you can be a contender if you have an excellent duo. Pairing Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Joel Embiid together would immediately vault the OKC Thunder back into contender status.
Moreover, if they can retain Chet Holmgren and Jalen Williams, OKC could catapult themselves into one of the best teams in the league.
Remember, Sam Presti did not acquire over 30 draft picks to use them all on draft night; they were always meant as a larger plan for roster flexibility down the line. Therefore, if Joel Embiid ultimately becomes available between now and the February Trade Deadline, the Thunder must get him because the centerpiece of “the process” would complete Oklahoma City’s arrival.