LeBron James Free Agency: Philadelphia 76ers to make strong run

By @saihoops on
LeBron James Free Agency, Philadelphia 76ers
Nov 27, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) attempts a shot while fouled by Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) during the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center. USA TODAY Sports / Bill Streicher

The Philadelphia 76ers plan to position themselves as strong suitors for soon-to-be free agent superstar LeBron James, according to a report. The Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets have been mentioned as other threats to pry James away from his hometown franchise, the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

Though many expect James to stay in Cleveland, the Cavs' performance in the postseason could influence the four-time MVP to take his talents to a team better equipped to challenge the mighty Golden State Warriors. 

The Sixers would give James the opportunity to team up with the potential superstar duo of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Also, Philadelphia is blessed with a battery of young talent that includes Markelle Fultz, this year's No. 1 overall pick, Dario Saric, T. J. McConnell and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot.

The team has also roped in seasoned veterans such as Robert Covington, JJ Redick and Amir Johnson. Though Redick and Johnson are free agents in July, the Sixers have enough salary cap to hold onto the pair, besides making a run at James. Philadelphia can offer James a max-contract starting at US$34 million (AU$44 million).

Could LeBron James and Ben Simmons team up?

Besides sharing the same agent in Rich Paul, James and Simmons have reportedly developed a mentor-pupil relationship off the court. And James is a fan of Sixers coach Brett Brown. “The organisation has done a great job believing in Brett Brown’s system, believing in what he wanted to do and they gave him time,” James said before the Cavs registered a dominating 113-91 over the Sixers on Monday.

According to USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt, James could view Sixers as his last opportunity to compete for an NBA championship, due to the degree of talent that Philadelphia has accumulated. "James has never played with a big man like Embiid before and both would benefit from the other’s presence, and a James-Simmons combo would present matchup problems for almost every team. James, Covington and Saric can hit threes, and their size and athleticism would give Sixers coach Brett Brown options on defence."

LeBron James and the Cavaliers are not favoured to overcome the Golden State Warriors in a potential NBA Finals rematch next June, according to Las Vegas oddsmakers. However, a lot can happen ahead of the Feb. 8 NBA Trade Deadline. While James has been linked to sign for the Lakers, Rockets and San Antonio Spurs, signing with the Sixers would let the star forward stay in the relatively easier Eastern Conference. Stay tuned for the latest buzz surrounding LeBron James Free Agency.