LeBron James-to-76ers Tops List of ‘Deals That Need to Happen’

LeBron James

Getty LeBron James shooting over Joel Embiid during a November 27 game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers.

In seven straight trips to the postseason during Joel Embiid‘s tenure with the Philadelphia 76ers, they have failed to make an appearance in the conference finals.

That simple fact demands change with an MVP-caliber player in his prime. So why not try to land LeBron James?

ESPN’s Chris Herring proposed such a move in his latest column, tabbing it among “deals that need to happen.”

“It would require James to opt out of the one year and $51.4 million he has left on his Lakers deal,” Herring wrote on May 28. “After a season in which both he and Anthony Davis were the healthiest they’ve been as a duo since teaming up in 2019-20, James might feel like there isn’t enough upside to win another title with the purple and gold.

James can enter free agency this summer, and he’s expected to, according to Herring, after a season in which he averaged 25.7 points, 8.3 assists, 7.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals.

Philadelphia represents one of few sensible options for the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.

76ers Present Path to Contention

After spending six years in the Western Conference, James would return to the East, which he dominated for the first 15 years of his career.

The competition is no lesser (the 2024 playoffs have proved that much), but a 76ers team boasting him, Embiid and Tyrese Maxey would have a shot at finishing top-four in the conference and earn home-court advantage in the playoffs.

James would be an upgrade over starter , who’s headed for free agency and unlikely to return. Herring hit on the potential upgrade in his ESPN column.

“James would be replacing Tobias Harris,” Herring wrote, “who never panned out as a third or fourth option in Philly and likely closed out his Sixers tenure with a scoreless performance when Philly got eliminated by the Knicks in the first round of the 2024 playoffs. James creates far more offense on his own than Harris, who too often stands in the corner.”

Harris has been the weak link for Philadelphia more times than not. Even if the 76ers don’t acquire James, look for them to upgrade that spot in the starting lineup.

76ers Prepared to Offer Max Deal to Jimmy Butler

Philadelphia is expected to try to right an old wrong by targeting the Miami Heat‘s Jimmy Butler this summer, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“The Sixers view [Butler] as a fallback option if they are unable to sign Paul George in free agency,” Pompey wrote on May 28. “And, according to sources, the Sixers are prepared to give Butler a maximum salary extension if things align and he forces a trade out of Miami.”

Seeking a contract extension with two years left on his deal, Butler is being watched as a potential trade target all around the NBA.

Butler helped the 76ers to a conference semifinals appearance in 2018 before being signed-and-traded to the Heat. Philadelphia chose to give Harris a new contract and couldn’t afford to keep both forwards.

He’s coming off a season where he averaged 20.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5 assists and 1.3 steals per game.

The addition of Butler would check most boxes for Philadelphia this offseason in anticipation of another playoff run in 2025.

Perhaps they end up with James. Perhaps they persuade Butler to return.

Regardless of the outcome, trust that Daryl Morey and the 76ers aren’t content with the roster as constructed. Moves are being mulled. And moves will be made.

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