Before the 2018 NBA free agency started, the Philadelphia 76ers emerged as one of the top four landing spots of LeBron James. Since the 2017-18 NBA season ended, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid were actively recruiting James, believing he’s the player the Sixers need to complete The Process. Unfortunately, on the second day of free agency, the 33-year-old small forward made a quick decision and headed to the Western Conference to join the Los Angeles Lakers.
Not all NBA teams who were interested in acquiring LeBron James were granted the opportunity to meet him during the free agency period. According to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN, Sixers Managing Partner Josh Harris and Coach and Interim General Manager Brett Brown believe LeBron James considered the Sixers “very strongly” after their meeting in Los Angeles.
“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.”
Like the Sixers, James’ new team, the Lakers, are one of the rising teams in the league. They are mostly consisting of young and promising talents that have shown potential to become NBA superstars. However, the Sixers have strong belief that they have a more talented roster with Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, and Markelle Fultz. The addition of James would definitely make the Sixers the top favorite team to represent the Eastern Conference in the 2019 NBA Finals.
After LeBron James signed with the Lakers, the Sixers decided to keep their focus on the remaining free agents on the market. They re-signed J.J. Redick and Amir Johnson and added Nemanja Bjelica. The Sixers also engaged in a trade deal with the Denver Nuggets to acquire Wilson Chandler.
Despite failing to acquire LeBron James and their other top targets in the free agency market, the Sixers are still actively searching for an available superstar via trade this offseason. They are currently engaged in trade negotiations with the San Antonio Spurs involving Kawhi Leonard, but the Sixers are reportedly not willing to give up lots of trade assets since the disgruntled superstar could be a possible one-year rental.
As of now, it is more likely that the Sixers will be heading into the 2018-19 NBA season with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons as the only superstars on the team. Still, expect more rumors to circulate around the Sixers as the offseason goes deeper.