The Philadelphia 76ers are rumored to be in the running for LeBron James. The Lakers are the favorites, both in Vegas and recent reports, to land James, but the Sixers have enough talent to potentially lure James away from Cleveland. Both Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid have attempted their own variations of recruitment through social media.
James’ plane already touched down in Los Angeles as the NBA free agency period officially begins, but it is also where the James family lives in the off-season.
According to Real GM’s Keith Smith’s projections, the Sixers are estimated to have $24.3 million in cap space. This would put them more than $10 million short of being able to sign a free agent like James to a max contract, but there are ways around this through avenues like a sign-and-trade.
Let’s take a look at what the Sixers starting lineup and roster could look like with LeBron James. Keep in mind, the Sixers would also do some additional re-shuffling to the team as well.
Sixers Roster & Starting Lineup With LeBron James for 2018-19
C- Joel Embiid
PF- Dario Saric, Robert Covington
SF- LeBron James, Zhaire Smith, Timothy Luwawu-Cabarrot, Justin Anderson
SG- Landry Shamet, Jerryd Bayless, Furkan Korkmaz, Shake Milton
PG- Ben Simmons, T.J. McConnell, Markelle Fultz
Sixers Free Agents: Marco Belinelli (UFA), J.J. Redick (UFA), Ersan Ilyasova (UFA), Amir Johnson (UFA), T.J. McConnell (TO), Richaun Holmes (TO) and Demetrius Jackson (RFA)
The Sixers first priority is to try to get James, and figure out the rest later. If the Sixers are able to land James, there are some other holes the team will need to fill. The addition of James likely means the Sixers would lose the majority of their own free agents, including J.J. Redick. If James heads to Philly, there would likely be a number of veteran free agents who would be willing to sign minimum deals for a chance to compete for a championship.
Philadelphia selected Zhaire Smith, Landry Shamet and Shake Milton in the 2018 draft. If the Sixers were not able to sign an additional shooting guard, Shamet would likely be battling Bayless for the starting position. The Sixers have already lost two of their free agents as Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova have both moved on to different teams.
James and Simmons have a prior relationship as James has tried to mentor Simmons as his NBA career gets off the ground.
“I’m honored that a young, gifted kid would even allow me to be a part of his life and be able to mentor him and be a big brother to him,” James explained to SB Nation last season. “I will continue to do that as long as he’d like me to.”
Philadelphia may not be able to offer James the same kind of opportunities as Los Angeles, where James already has two houses. From a basketball perspective, the Sixers have arguably the most talented roster of a team that is considered to be in the running for James’ services. We will find out if it is enough for James to come to Philly.