The Philadelphia 76ers may have just won the LeBron James sweepstakes this offseason by not only making it to the playoffs but by showing they can do it as a team. Sounds weird to say, but look at the NBA. How many teams can actually say they are a team?
The Golden State Warriors are led by four All-Stars and a bunch of guys just filling in a uniform. The Houston Rockets are a loaded bunch, but in one offseason, that team could be dismantled due to bad contracts. The San Antonio Spurs are hanging on to players who refuse to retire and a superstar who may not want to be there anymore. The Boston Celtics are being led by a player who no longer wanted to play with James. And the Lakers, while having a roster with youth, are still stuck on the notion they must have two superstars on their team to be relevant.
But then you have the Sixers. The Sixers are the team that almost every team in the NBA is jealous of. They’re young, will have a ton of cap space for the foreseeable future, and still have draft picks hidden in their attic somewhere just waiting to be used in trades.
While it’s rumored that LeBron has narrowed his choices to four teams, according to Forbes, none have a better future than the Sixers. Yes, Cleveland is home and will always be that, but if winning another ring is his goal, then the Sixers are his best option. The Rockets are a loaded team, but if they were to re-sign Chris Paul and get LeBron, that means Clint Capela, Luc Mbah a Moute, and Trevor Ariza will have to go elsewhere. What fun will LeBron have not playing with a defensive center, yet again?
For years, the Sixers have been the no-fly zone for top NBA free agents until this season. Not only are they winning, but it’s how they’re doing it and with whom. The Sixers are led by Joel Embiid, who’s only playing in his second season, and Ben Simmons, who’s in his first. Then you can add the role players like Dario Saric, Markelle Fultz, and Robert Covington and you have a starting unit that has six full seasons of experience between them. And yet, here they are fighting not only for a playoff spot but for the third seed in the Eastern Conference against LeBron’s Cavaliers. Talk about irony.
The main reason the Sixers give LeBron the best chance is that they’re in the East where the main competition will come from the Boston Celtics. What the Sixers need most is a veteran player who can help lead them to where they want to be while teaching Embiid and Simmons how to be leaders after he’s gone. This is what LeBron can do. He can’t do that with the Lakers. In order for them to become winners, they will have to add too many pieces and still contend with the likes of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Rockets, and Warriors. LeBron may see that as too much of an uphill climb.
The Sixers are ready to win. The city is still buzzing from the Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl victory and will be on cloud nine after this season is over while looking forward to the Sixers’ future. While LeBron James hasn’t said it yet, he will be a Sixer at the start of the 2018 season.