The Philadelphia 76ers will be meeting with the representatives of LeBron James in Los Angeles, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Sunday.
This is a significant bit of news as for the last week or so, people have made it seem like James going to the Los Angeles Lakers was a done deal.
Wojnarowski also reported that specifically for this first meeting, James will not be in attendance. Sixers ownership and interim general manager/head coach Brett Brown are expected to lead this meeting with James’ reps.
When NBA free agency tipped off shortly after midnight on Sunday, Paul George announced that he would be staying in Oklahoma City Thunder, putting a damper on the dreams of Lakers fans.
The hope was for either him and James to be playing together or potentially Kawhi Leonard playing with James.
However, that does not appear to be the case as this will come down to a two-team race between the Lakers and Sixers for James. Unlike the Lakers, who have two max contract slots, Philadelphia only has one where they could sign James to a reported $35.6 million annually max contract.
If the Sixers can sign James, it will vault them to the top of the Eastern Conference, past Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics.
This past season, Philadelphia finished with 52 wins and defeated the Miami Heat in the first-round of the NBA playoffs. They also had Joel Embiid make the All-star team only in his second season and Ben Simmons winning the Rookie of the Year award.
In addition to the Sixers meeting with James, they could also acquire disgruntled San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard in a trade. Just like the Lakers, the Sixers have been mentioned in the Leonard sweepstakes.
A few days ago, Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated reported the Sixers have had “serious internal discussions” about trading for Leonard. In a potential trade for Leonard, the Spurs are interested in a package consists of Dario Saric, Robert Covington, and a future first-round pick.
According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, one of the Sixers’ top selling points to Rich Paul will be they still believe that they can win the Leonard sweepstakes.
If the Sixers can pull off a trade for Leonard, Ian Begley of ESPN mentions that several people with Philadelphia feel confident that Leonard would consider re-signing next offseason.
Adding James, along with Leonard to go with Embiid, Simmons and Markelle Fultz would be a significant power move.
It should be interesting to see how things play out in the James’ sweepstakes as the Sixers are definitely star hunting.