For the past couple of months, there has been tons of speculation regarding LeBron James and his upcoming free agency decision this summer. Will he stay in Cleveland after the team made various moves to get younger? Will he head west to Los Angeles and play for Magic Johnson and the Lakers? Or maybe he’ll head down to Houston and team up with Harden and CP3 to create the most feared big 3 in the NBA.
Or maybe, just maybe, he’ll stay in the east and take his talents to the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia.
This take isn’t quite as ridiculous as it might’ve been a few months ago. It all started with a report that LeBron James and his representatives were touring schools, most notably Malvern Prep, for his son to possibly attend just before the All-Star Break. This was later echoed by CSN announcer Alaa Abdelnaby during a Sixers broadcast, but employees at Malvern Prep as well as LeBron himself denied the reports. Billboards were put up in Cleveland (yes, IN Cleveland) urging LeBron to sign with the Sixers and to “Complete the Process”. Instead of just writing the billboards off and opting to focus solely on the Cavaliers, LeBron offered up two words in an interview.
Even after a tough loss to the Sixers in Cleveland, LeBron praised “Young King” Ben Simmons and “The Process” Joel Embiid on Instagram, a curious decision seeing as the Sixers figure to be a major factor in the Eastern Conference playoffs this season.
The Sixers have an extremely exciting team that figures to be contenders for 10+ years regardless of LeBron’s decision in the summer. However, adding LeBron James to this team would more than likely make them favorites for the 2019 NBA Finals immediately. The Sixers already boast one of the best starting lineups in the NBA and adding LeBron James would make them that much better. Could you imagine a starting lineup consisting of Ben Simmons, JJ Redick (assuming he’s re-signed), LeBron James, Dario Saric and Joel Embiid? That’s frightening, especially when you consider the level of talent that would be coming off of the bench, as well. The Sixers would still have Markelle Fultz and Robert Covington. Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli also figure to be back in the rotation as long as they are re-signed, not to mention the top 15 pick the Sixers will have in a talented NBA draft class.
LeBron has certainly been watching this team from afar noticing the number of assets the team has along with its cap flexibility. If the Sixers want to sign LeBron, they will have to make a few moves including trading Jarryd Bayless and letting Amir Johnson walk. Ideally, the Sixers would find a way to keep sharpshooter JJ Redick while also bringing in LeBron, but Redick would have to take a bit of a pay cut after earning $23 million this season.
Of course, this is something to monitor closer to summertime and the start of free agency. For now, the Sixers are enjoying their best season in a decade. They’re firmly in the playoff picture at 35-28 and few teams would want to face the Sixers in the first round of the playoffs. The Sixers will be fine for the next 10 years regardless of LeBron’s decision, but having James join the team would certainly expedite “The Process”.
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