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EmbiidWatch Begins: Possible Twitter-Bio Intrigue

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

When James Harden put the Sixers' mess in public, he did it in refreshingly analog fashion, even saying his Daryl Morey slander twice for emphasis, striking a little pose for the cameras. James Harden is kind of a funny guy. His co-star, Joel Embiid, is also kind of a funny guy, but in a more exhausting, self-conscious, and online way. It is possible that Embiid has also expressed his displeasure with the team, but in a more subtle message, as some close observers noticed on Monday.

The reigning MVP recently removed two things on his Twitter profile that kept him tethered to the Sixers. One was his bio, a riff on the accursed team motto: "PROCESSING......................." The other was his location: "Philadelphia." Both fields are now blank. That said, he did retain his header image, which reads "THE PROCESS." And he swapped out a hideous NFT avatar for a picture of himself, so maybe he is just in the middle of a digital facelift. (It's hard to tell when exactly these changes was made; archived versions of his page aren't recent enough to offer much clarity.)

It's not the first time this summer that Embiid frazzled Sixers fans with the presence or absence of two to three words. In a July interview, Embiid scandalized them with the very mention of playing for another team. “I just want to win a championship. Whatever it takes,” he said. “I don’t know where that’s gonna be, whether it’s in Philly or anywhere else." Embiid, who has been with the Sixers for nine(!) seasons and always publicly reiterated his commitment to the franchise, later wrote that he was just trolling. He also wrote that Daryl Morey had replaced him as the "best troll here." (James Harden might now agree with that assessment.)

Earlier this offseason, Embiid said that he was "disappointed" to hear of James Harden's trade request. Nothing has become of that trade request; Harden, who picked up his player option for the 2023-24 season, is still a Sixer, albeit an extremely unhappy one, and the Clippers trade he sought looks like a non-starter. Perhaps Embiid is upset that Harden didn't get traded, because the team doesn't have much recourse for improving on the roster that just shuffled out of the second round (once again). Only an outlandish year-four leap from guard Tyrese Maxey could put them in genuine title contention.

Embiid is one of the most gifted players in the NBA, but he is also injury-prone enough to be thought of as a finite resource. He has been the subject of his own trade rumors, featuring Embiid associates: his former agent, Leon Rose, now runs the Knicks front office; his friend and best-ever teammate, Jimmy Butler, just made another undermanned Finals run in Miami. It's hard to imagine Daryl Morey, who seems to believe in marquee star-power foremost, settling for the kinds of players and picks those franchises could supply. But maybe none of James Harden, Joel Embiid, or Daryl Morey will be around in Philly this time next year, or next month.

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