Ben Simmons’ student-mentor relationship with LeBron James has been widely-documented. There had been reports that the two have spent the last offseason working out together. With James imparting much wisdom and knowledge to this year’s top Rookie of the Year contender, Simmons’ consistent LeBron-like performances this season had been unsurprising.
Aside from both being former No. 1 overall picks, Simmons and James also have the same agent in Rich Paul, who is the founder of Klutch Sports Group. James previously spoke of himself as Simmons’ mentor, via CBS Sports, and the three-time NBA champion only had high praises to say regarding Simmons all these time. Clearly, there are close ties between the two and the bond seems to be already there.
In an article in FanSided’s The Sixers Sense, Bret Stuter reported that the 21-year-old Simmons is “pushing” his idol to join him in Philadelphia when James becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. Stuter said that the relationship between Simmons and LeBron had become so tight that the latter is “often approached (even) for non-basketball matters.”
Stuter also noted that with the Sixers’ capacity to open enough salary cap space to sign a max player this summer, landing LeBron would not be impossible to do. The Sixers also offer LeBron the young duo of Simmons and Joel Embiid, who analysts believe have high upsides and tons of potential to dominate the East in the future.
Some basketball pundits think that adding LeBron to the mix would make the Sixers instant championship contenders. The recent Lakers trade that brought Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. to Cleveland proved that James thrives in the presence of young players, and Simmons and Embiid are arguably the best ones in their generation.
ESPN’s Adam Reisinger compared the possibility of LeBron joining the Sixers to the time he returned to Cleveland and eventually teamed up with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. However, for it to happen, the team would still have to make a few trades to accommodate “James’ full max salary” even with four of Philly’s highest-paid players are entering free agency this offseason, Reisinger said.
Just recently, Simmons posted a cryptic image on Instagram, showing himself and his fellow Klutch Sports brothers LeBron, Tristan Thompson, and John Wall in civilian clothes and hanging out with each other. The photo’s caption read: “June 30th Midnight.”
The date refers to the time when upcoming free agents are allowed to sign a deal with teams of their choice. Some people presumed that the caption meant James would choose to sign with the Sixers, as Simmons’ desire to play with him has been one of the NBA’s worst-kept secrets.