The Philadelphia 76ers have a chance to hit the lottery twice in one offseason. First, they could end up with the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft thanks to the Los Angeles Lakers. Secondly, they have a shot not only at LeBron James but Kawhi Leonard as well. According to Hoops Hype, Leonard may want out of San Antonio, and if that’s the case, the Sixers could be a top destination.
The Sixers may be engulfed in a youth movement, but how many teams can say that and still put out a winning team on the floor nightly? This is what makes the Sixers one of the preferred destinations for free agents. Adding James would make the Sixers one of the favorites to win a championship in 2018 but so will adding Leonard. If you were Bryan Colangelo, which star would you choose?
LeBron brings a championship pedigree as a winner of three NBA titles during his career. He’s widely regarded as the best player in the NBA, but does he fit with what the Sixers are trying to do? Yes, Colangelo is trying to win rings, but at what expense? If LeBron were to come to Philly, he would do so with a heavy price tag. His services will cost the Sixers anywhere up to $35 million-plus per season.
Whereas LeBron is free to go where he wants, Leonard is another situation. If the Spurs are willing to let their star walk, they will do so only for a king’s ransom. Leonard is one of the top two-way players in the league, and the Sixers will have to part with draft picks and starters. The good news is that they have both.
LeBron is 33-years-old, but he still has enough in the tank to average 26.6 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 8.9 assists while shooting 54.6 percent from the floor. Leonard, 26, has played in nine games this season due to his injured shoulder. Last season, he averaged 25.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, and shot 48 percent from the floor.
Pop isn’t optimistic Kawhi Leonard will return this season. pic.twitter.com/DZH30Pxsbt
— ESPN (@espn) February 21, 2018
While LeBron has the better numbers, Leonard has him on the age and money side of the coin. LeBron is a free agent but Leonard is still on the books for at least another season until he has a player option in 2019. This could also be a huge concern for the Sixers: LeBron is 33, and Leonard is 26. If the Sixers are going full-out youth movement, then Leonard will get the nod. However, if Colangelo is looking for a veteran to reel in his young troops, then LeBron is the one you go after.
Now, with all that said, both players come with their fair share of issues.
Leonard is injured, and according to ESPN, there may be some issues between him and the Spurs organization. What the Sixers must determine is if Leonard is a head case or not. No need to trade picks and players for a star who may come in and destroy the dynamic of a close-knit team. The same goes for LeBron. No matter how great he is, there have been issues on every team he’s been a part of. Is Philly big enough for LeBron’s and Embiid’s personalities, or will there be a clash?
What’s interesting to note is that adding either player will only increase the Sixers’ chances of getting a title in 2019. Both LeBron and Leonard are two of the best, not only at their positions but anywhere. LeBron could be just a quick fix for the Sixers; however, Leonard could be the third-star Embiid and Simmons need to begin their dynasty run.