The departure of LeBron James in Cleveland is inevitable, especially after the Cavaliers suffered another massive defeat in the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors. James is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Cavaliers and join another NBA team where he has a higher chance of winning more NBA championships. Instead of letting the 33-year-old superstar walk away without getting anything in return, Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report suggested that the Cavaliers could engage him in a sign-and-trade deal.
Having a no-trade clause in his contract, the Cavaliers will first need to talk to LeBron James before having any trade discussion with other NBA teams. James is only expected to waive his no-trade clause for teams he considers as ideal landing spots, and the Philadelphia 76ers, as Swartz noted, are potentially included. The Sixers are currently one of the rising teams in the Eastern Conference who have a plethora of trade assets to convince the Cavaliers to make a deal.
Aside from signing James, the Sixers also have an eye on another superstar in the free agency market: Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Paul George. However, the Sixers are a bit short of giving both James and George maximum contracts, making it more reasonable for them to acquire the Cavaliers superstar via a sign-and-trade deal.
“If James can convince George to stay out of L.A. and remain in the East, Cleveland could trade James to the Sixers so that they could keep the cap space necessary to sign George. The Cavs couldn’t get Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons back in return but should instead ask for Markelle Fultz, Dario Saric, Robert Covington and Jerryd Bayless. That may be a lot for Philly, but it would be worth it for a combination of James, Embiid, George, and Simmons.”
In Bleacher Report‘s proposed trade deal, the Sixers would send Markelle Fultz, Dario Saric, Robert Covington, and Jerryd Bayless to Cleveland for LeBron James. The deal works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine. If the trade proceeds, it will definitely help both teams in filling the needs to improve on their roster.
The successful acquisition of James and Paul George will make the Sixers the new ruler of the Eastern Conference next season. The combination of James, George, Ben Simmons, and Joel Embiid could prevent the Boston Celtics from returning to their former glory. It will also give the Sixers the ability to match the Warriors’ “Super Death Lineup.”
Meanwhile, the Cavaliers will be acquiring multiple young and talented players that could help them speed up the rebuilding process while remaining as a competitive team in the Eastern Conference. Fultz, Saric, and Covington could further develop their game in Cleveland and show that they are capable of becoming superstars in the league.