The Philadelphia 76ers have always been a dark horse in the LeBron James sweepstakes (and in a Kawhi Leonard trade, and that’s part of this story). If LeBron wants to win titles and stay in the East, the Sixers with him — combined with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons — would be a ready-made challenger to the existing powers of Boston/ Golden State/Houston. However, the City of Brotherly Love never seemed to be on the top of LeBron’s list.
That said, LeBron’s management team is set to meet with the Sixers on Sunday, a story reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
A high-level Philadelphia 76ers contingent is meeting with LeBron James’ agent, Rich Paul, on Sunday in Los Angeles, league sources told ESPN.
James isn’t expected to attend the meeting, which is the first significant chance for the 76ers to make case a free-agent case to James, league sources said. Ownership and possibly interim president of basketball operations/coach Brett Brown are expected to lead the meeting with James’ representatives, sources said.
The Sixers can offer a max contract, so they meet that basic requirement.
What will be discussed in this meeting? To start with, LeBron’s role with the team and the plans to fill out the roster — a LeBron/Embiid/Simmons core needs a lot of shooting around it and the Sixers did not retain Ersan Ilyasova or Marco Belinelli, plus J.J. Redick is a free agent. How would the Sixers get the shooting and depth needed to maximize those elite talents?
Then there is Kawhi Leonard — the Sixers believe they are seriously in the mix to land him. Whether that is true or San Antonio just want to use Philly for leverage is up for debate, but the Sixers are at least at the table.
After that, there will be a discussion of organizational philosophy, marketing plans for LeBron, and just the two sides getting a sense of what the other really wants.
It’s unlikely that LeBron ends up in Philly, but if nothing else the meeting is a reminder to the Lakers they are not alone in chasing No. 23 — he has options. It puts a little more pressure on L.A. to make the moves LeBron wants.