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Kamil Krzaczynski | USA TODAY Sports

The NBA playoffs aren’t even over and the rumors are already flying. The latest, when is reigning MVP and star 76ers center Joel Embiid getting traded to the Knicks?

This was recently fueled in part to a tweet from the Daily News’ Stefan Bondy:

Before we dive deep, some important context. Yes, trading a reigning MVP about to start a supermax contract is highly unprecedented. Even more so considering the Sixers just reached Game 7 of the conference semifinals.

Veteran coach Doc Rivers is out. If that Philadelphia Inquirer report retweeted by Bondy is accurate, James Harden plans to rejoin the Rockets in free agency. That still leaves Philly with a good-enough core of Embiid, young point guard Tyrese Maxey, and a year of Tobias Harris’ bloated contract.

But those are the key words: Good enough. A new coach, be it Mike D’Antoni or Nick Nurse, may want a full reset and rebuild. Trading Embiid when his value is at his highest could bring in a treasure trove of draft picks. General manager Daryl Morey should at least be considering this given his team has no draft picks either this year or in 2025.

Meanwhile, let’s shift focus to the Knicks. They’ve got plenty to be proud of after their season but after losing to the Heat in the East semis, the clearer problems have surfaced. Namely, Julius Randle has peaked and it’s time to move on. If a team is willing to trade first-round picks for him, particularly since he just made his second All-NBA, all the better.

However, anyone who follows basketball in the slightest knows it isn’t that simple. The Knicks don’t have the draft capital this year to pull of a straight Randle-for-Embiid trade. The salary cap adds that more players need to be involved and, more importantly, a third team.

Well, we at ESNY think we have that third team: the Pacers. They have a championship-winning coach in Rick Carlisle and a great young point guard in Tyrese Haliburton, who broke out with 20.7 points and 10.4 assists per game. The problem is though the talent surrounding him is by no means bad, it could use a face lift.

More importantly, Indy has three first-round picks in this year’s NBA Draft. The team was 35-47, largely due to Haliburton and Turner dealing with injuries. Thus, they can either clutch the picks and build a younger core around Haliburton, or they can make a deal and win now.

Look at it this way. Spotrac estimates Embiid will earn just shy of $47 million next year, kicking off his four-year supermax. Turner, by comparison, has two years left on his contract at $20 million a year. Knicks big man Mitchell Robinson has three years left on his, makes $15.7 million next year, and his base salary drops each of the next two years.

Put it all together, and we have to achieve three goals. The Knicks need to get Embiid. Philadelphia, embracing Maxey as the leader of the offense, needs to build a core around him. The Pacers need players who can not only help Haliburton develop, but play Carlisle’s offense.

After much consideration, this three-way deal seems just crazy enough to work:

Knicks get: C Joel Embiid, SG Buddy Hield, 2023 first-round pick (via Indiana/Boston), 2024 second-round pick (via Philadelphia), 2024 second-round pick (via Indiana/Milwaukee).

Sixers get: C Myles Turner, SG Chris Duarte, No. 7 pick in 2023 draft (via Indiana), 2023 first-round pick (via Indiana/Cleveland), 2023 second-round pick (via Indiana), 2024 first-round pick (via New York/Detroit).

Pacers get: PF Julius Randle, C Mitchell Robinson, SG Evan Fournier, 2024 first-round pick (via New York), 2024 first-round pick (via New York/Dallas), 2024 second-round pick (via New York/Detroit).

Starting from the top down, the Knicks get their man in Embiid and another much-needed shooter in Hield. Embiid can dominate the paint like Robinson, but also spaces the floor as needed and opens up coach Tom Thibodeau’s offense. Additionally, Hield allows Thibodeau to rely less on someone like Obi Toppin and instead go smaller when necessary. Hield is also a 40% career three-point shooter and, better yet, an expiring contract.

Things work out pretty well in Philadelphia too. Turner won’t match Embiid’s scoring, but he too can shoot from distance and dominate the paint. Duarte is a high-potential shooter who struggled under Carlisle, but could thrive elsewhere. Add in Harris’ expiring contract and the new draft picks. Suddenly, Maxey looks pretty set in his new role as a star point guard.

The Pacers, meanwhile, make out like bandits despite losing all of their picks in 2023. In its own weird way, their return has Carlisle set up to run an offense not too different than what won him a title in Dallas in 2011. He already has an upgrade at point guard with Haliburton replacing an aging Jason Kidd, but let’s digest the rest.

Robinson makes his mental mistakes but at his best, is sort of like a squatter Tyson Chandler. A strong interior defender who can take a game over. Randle is nowhere near as good nor athletic as Dirk Nowitzki, but still fares better in faster-paced offenses. Furthermore, he might do better in a smaller market like Indianapolis as opposed to New York’s relentless media.

Fournier is a three-point specialist and 2-guard who sadly spent most of the last two years on the bench. That’s a shame considering he was a catalyst in his first-ever game as a Knick, a 32-point showing in a double-OT win against the Celtics. The Pacers would also acquire his club option for 2024-25. Keeping up with the Dallas parallels, perhaps he can play a Jason Terry-like role as a starter or off the bench.

Best of all is that if things don’t work out as intended, the Pacers are still playing with house money. They’ll have plenty of draft compensation, not to mention the cap space available to extend Haliburton.

At the end of the day, the goal of this trade is simple: Get Embiid to the Knicks. He immediately improves the team and this is the best way to make a deal before June 22’s NBA Draft.

This scenario seems overall unlikely, especially with Philadelphia still without a coach. Yet, if both sides are motivated to deal as the draft draws closer, it’s hard to find a better trade than this proposed idea.

Follow ESNY on Twitter @elitesportsny

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.