76ers owner: I think LeBron James ‘very strongly’ considered Philadelphia

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LeBron James met with Lakers president Magic Johnson as soon as free agency began then agreed to a four-year contract with the Lakers within the first day of free agency.

Between, LeBron sent his agent to meet with the 76ers.

76ers owner Josh Harris, via Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN:

“I think they considered us very strongly,” Harris said of James’ group Monday at the Las Vegas Summer League. “I think he — I would be speculating on how he makes his decisions, and I don’t want to do that — but I think that they were really serious [about Philadelphia]. The fact that they took the meeting with us was something that they didn’t view lightly, so I think that they were very serious about it.”

That LeBron didn’t even attend the meeting – in Los Angeles, where he lives and was – is telling. He probably considered Philadelphia at some point, but by the time free agency actually approached, he was clearly set on the Lakers.

This is reminiscent of Kevin Durant‘s 2016 free agency. After he picked the Warriors, teams lined up to claim they were finalists in order to project credibility.

Harris, by firing Sam Hinkie, showed how badly he cared about reputation. Then, the Bryan Colangelo saga dented the 76ers’ prestige far further. This seems like an attempt to impress people: If LeBron viewed Philadelphia credibly, so should everyone else.

I’m not sure it’ll convince anyone, though. LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul, also represents 76ers rising star Ben Simmons. Paul doing Philadelphia a favor by participating in a meeting ostensibly about LeBron wouldn’t signify much. But here we are.