Pretty much every NBA team could use LeBron James on its roster, so it's no surprise that the Cleveland Cavaliers star has a handful of serious suitors if and when he hits free agency this summer. According to a report this week from USA Today, rumor has it you can add the Philadelphia 76ers to the list of franchises that plan to pursue the All Star forward.
There were precious few details in the report, so take it with the proverbial grain of salt, but apparently there is real interest from the Sixers. "Executives around the league believe Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo will attempt to sign James," wrote the paper's Jeff Zillgitt.
Philly for years was a laughing stock in the league, losing games by the bucketful. But it developed a forward-thinking plan from former General Manager Sam Hinkie, who stockpiled draft picks to land young, cheap talent. The team has displayed incredible promise this season, led by rookie Ben Simmons and center Joel Embiid, both of whom look like they could be perennial all stars. Suddenly, Philly is an attractive destination and it's not totally crazy to see it as a landing spot for a star such as James.
James was just in Philly Monday to take on the Sixers and put on a clinic as the Cavs cruised to a 113-91 victory. He praised the organization before the matchup, telling reporters, "The [Sixers] organization has done a great job in believing in [Coach] Brett Brown’s system, believing in what he wanted to do, and they gave him some time."
It has long been rumored, however, that James is set to head to Los Angeles—where he has a home—to join the Lakers after this season. "I'm eradicating all conjecture and uncertainty!" wrote longtime NBA writer Peter Vecsey in September. "I'm comfortable now in stating unequivocally, LeBron will leave the Cavaliers a second time and join the Lakers, and return the team to L.A. Lore status."
It's also very possible James just stays in Cleveland. Still, James to Philly rumors have long been floated or debated in the City of Brotherly Love. Fans had signs pleading with him to join the Sixers Monday and some have noted that James has been a mentor to Simmons, who is signed to Klutch Sports, the agency run by LeBron's longtime friend and agent Rich Paul.
Zillgitt, of USA Today, argued this week that James would be smart to consider Philly, writing, "the Sixers are an intriguing possibility, and if James’ goal remains competing for championships and Cleveland is no longer the place, the Sixers can make a compelling case."
Philadelphia certainly does have a bevy of young talent to complement James, which could also extend the championship window for the 32-year-old player. It still seems unlikely he ends up in Philly, but it's interesting that rumors suggest the Sixers think they have a good enough argument to give it a shot.
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