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Joel Embiid says he wants to win a championship "in Philly or anywhere else"

Gallen of Questions Podcast, Ep. 24: Jake Fischer, Jonathan Tannenwald
Gallen of Questions Podcast, Ep. 24: Jake Fischer, Jonathan Tannenwald 25:59

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Joel Embiid sent social media into a frenzy Monday morning after his comments from last week's UNINTERRUPTED Sports Film Festival finally emerged. 

At the festival last Thursday, Embiid told Maverick Carter, LeBron James' business manager, that he wants to win a championship "whether it's in Philly or anywhere else."

Below is the full quote and brief exchange with Carter: 

Embiid: "I just want to win a championship — um, you know, whatever it takes. I don't know where that's going to be, whether it's in Philly or anywhere else. I just want to have a chance to accomplish that. I want to see what it feels like to win that first one and then think about that next one. It's not easy, but it takes more than one or two, three guys. You've got to have good people around you, and myself, you know, every single day I work hard to be at that level so I can produce and make it happen, so every single day that I'm working toward that goal, that's the way my mindset has always been. MVP is just an added bonus. And you know it's not..."

Carter: "It's a cool added bonus."

Embiid: "It's amazing. I know a lot of people take it granted but there's not a lot of people that get to have the opportunity to be called the MVP of the league, so I was extremely happy about it and excited about it, but the championship -- that's the one thing that I got to work hard for."   

The comment by Embiid is the first time, at least publicly, that he's mentioned the possibility of playing for another organization. He's been in Philly since the team drafted him with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft.  

Will Embiid be the latest NBA superstar to demand a trade out of his current situation? Time will tell. But, the league is no stranger to superstar movement, with Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, Kevin Durant and a slew of others recently demanding trades.

Embiid's contract currently runs through the 2026-27 season, and that year has a $59 million player option he'd have to opt into by June 29, 2026. He'd enter free agency by opting out. 

But according to a new report from The Athletic, the Sixers don't expect the reigning MVP to ask out of Philly anytime soon. 

"A high-ranking Sixers source told The Athletic that Embiid or his representatives have not shared any such message with the team. In fact, the organization's belief remains that Embiid would love to go the way of Dirk Nowitzki or Kobe Bryant and stay with one team for his entire career," The Athletic's Sam Amick wrote.    

It didn't take long for Embiid to respond to his comments on Twitter after the comments hit social media. 

"Buddy check my middle name," he tweeted from his Joel "Troel" Embiid account.  

Maybe he is trolling? It's not the best way to go about it, but maybe Embiid said that to put pressure on the Sixers and that he doesn't want to leave Philly? 

Embiid isn't absolved from blame for the team's shortcomings in the playoffs, but they've also haven't done the greatest job at building around their franchise player throughout his tenure. And the big fella has been through a ton during his time in Philadelphia. 

The comments from Embiid come after James Harden's trade request has dominated the offseason. 

Embiid told Showtime's Rachel Nichols earlier this month that he hopes Harden's "mindset can be changed" on the trade request. 

But, the latest report from The Athletic says that Harden's "stance remains unchanged" and he still wants out of Philly. Harden's preferable destination is to play alongside Kawhi Leonard and Paul George with the Los Angeles Clippers. 

Embiid is coming off his first MVP season after finishing as the runner-up twice, but the Sixers fell short once again in the playoffs, losing to the Boston Celtics in seven games in the Eastern Conference semifinals. 

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