In an interview with Sixers Wire’s Ky Carlin, Nurse said that he wants Embiid to play more, believing that doing so is worth the risk.
“We’re trying to get him to play more games,” Nurse said in a September 18 interview. “Our goal is that it’s going up for him, not not the other direction and some people would say, ‘Oh, that’s playoffs. Is he going to be?’ We’re just trying to get it going the other direction. I think that’s just what our people believe here that he can play and, again, knock on wood, cross our fingers, all that stuff. There’s always things that can come up with that stuff, but I don’t know. I believe in the guys playing as much as they can, and let’s see what happens.”
Though Nurse wants to get the most out of the Sixers’ best player, Embiid has shown time and time again that an increased workload increases the likelihood of him getting hurt. Thus, increased playing time for the league’s reigning Most Valuable Player may not be the best idea.
Bill Simmons Believes Joel Embiid Could Head to Knicks
On the September 7 episode of “The Bill Simmons Podcast,” Simmons mentioned Embiid among the star players, including Giannis Antetokoumnpo and Donovan Mitchell – who he is fully confident will join the Sixers rival, the New York Knicks.
“They’ll get one of those three guys, I guarantee,” Simmons said. “Giannis, Embiid, or Mitchell will be on that team a year from now.”
Embiid used to be represented by Knicks executive Leon Rose, so there is a connection there. However, Embiid potentially becoming a Knick would hinge on him requesting a trade while also specifically requesting to join the Knicks since he’s not going to be a free agent until 2026 at the earliest.
There’s been plenty of speculation that Embiid will want out following both the Sixers’ lack of progression in the last five years and the James Harden drama this offseason. While it’s a possibility, the Sixers don’t have to cross that bridge until they come to it.
Plus, if Antetokoumnpo and Mitchell go to the Knicks, it’d be hard to see how they fit Embiid in there with them.
Why Nick Nurse Chose Sixers Over Higher-Paying Job
On the September 6 episode of “The Pat Bev Podcast With Rone,” Nurse explained why he picked the Sixers over another team that would have paid him more.
“Just thought that the fit was right with me. (I) love the ownership. (I) love my connection with Daryl Morey, the president. Obviously, he was in Houston when I was coaching Rio Grande. Just hear nothing but good things about Josh (Harris) and David (Blitzer), the owners, and obviously, (I) coached against them a lot, and I think it’s a good team. A very good team and some awesome pieces here, so here we are,” Nurse said.
Nurse did not name anyone, but it’s clear that Nurse was in demand knowing his resume. He won a title with the Toronto Raptors in 2019 and then won Coach of the Year the following season.