Fans of the Philadelphia 76ers have waited three years for a moment like this. The 76ers are in the playoff chase in the Eastern Conference despite a rash of injuries, a rookie point guard, a second-year centerpiece still finding his game, and a list of players most teams overlooked. But yet, there are players throughout the NBA who have taken notice of what could happen in the City of Brotherly Love. One in particular, LeBron James.
According to CBS Philly, James recently said that the Cavaliers need to make up ground and get to a place where the Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, and Philadelphia 76ers are. The 76ers are currently the eighth seed in the East, however, James may be speaking more in terms of future potential than the present. With the 76ers set up for a long run with their cornerstones of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Robert Covington, and Dario Saric, the process is almost complete for the once dismal bunch in Philly. All that’s missing is that one piece to bring it all together. Could LeBron James be the missing link in Philly?
With James set to hit the free agent market in 2018, there have been countless rumors regarding his next destination. While many will point him toward the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets, or San Antonio Spurs, his presence in Philadelphia may be the darkhorse destination.
While the 76ers have placed themselves on the map, the truth is, the team is still young. In order for them to make the necessary leap needed to get within distance of the Raptors and Celtics, a veteran presence with MVP capabilities is needed. LeBron has the pedigree to carry the 76ers to a championship but the question is– does he have the desire to do so? James heading to Houston with James Harden and Chris Paul or San Antonio with Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge would almost guarantee at least a place in the Western Conference Finals. The upstart 76ers are a different challenge.
Paul and Harden have been in the NBA long enough to know that sacrificing is the name of the game if you want to win a title. The same goes for Aldridge and Leonard. However, the 76ers are young and coming into their own and may not accept the spotlight LeBron brings with him. However, if Embiid and Simmons were to find a way, imagine how dangerous the 76ers could be.
With Simmons at the point, Embiid in the middle, LeBron at small forward, and either Saric or Covington at power forward, the 76ers would be a tough out for any team. The one area that may concern the 76ers and LeBron coming there would be shooting. The 76ers are still holding out hope the 2017 No. 1 pick, Markelle Fultz, will return from his shoulder injury the same way Embiid and Simmons did their rookie year–with a passion. If Fultz is ready to go, he will add the missing dynamic to what could be a championship team in 2018.
Can the 76ers afford LeBron James? Yes, they can and more. With the 76ers set to lose J.J. Redick ($23 million), Amir Johnson ($11 million), and Trevor Booker ($9 million), the 76ers can go shopping with a bag full of money. Let’s not forget to mention the possibility of the 76ers getting the Lakers’ 2018 NBA Draft pick.
What team will LeBron James play for Game 1 of the 2018-2019 Season? (per @BovadaLV):
— SPORTSRADIO 94WIP (@SportsRadioWIP) February 9, 2018
LeBron, throughout his career, has played his best when his teams were having fun on the court. The Cavaliers, for all their success over the last three seasons, had become more robotic than original and in the process let the NBA pass them by. The enthusiasm LeBron displayed his first night with his new teammates after the trade deadline deals prove how much fun he’s been missing as a member of the oldest roster in the league.
Adding his services to the young, athletic, and carefree 76ers will hopefully ignite the spark that has gone out in his eyes and game. While professional analysts will give the nod to the Rockets or Spurs to land LeBron, the 76ers could very well be the best spot for him to land. The scary part is, the NBA and LeBron James himself may know this as well.