This is probably a bad way to introduce myself to the The Sixer Sense’s audience, but I have been working on this theory for a long time and its finally time to unleash it on the world.
The best thing for LeBron James to do this off season is not stay in Miami, or head back to Cleveland, or even team up with Kobe. It is in the best interest of The King to come to Philadelphia and cement his NBA legacy.
Is anyone still reading? Wonderful. Here we go.
Philadelphia is in the lower half of many categories in the in NBA. But probably the best thing they are at the bottom of is payroll. In 2014, the 76ers are only paying $44.7 million dollars for the whole team, per hoopshype.com. Kobe Bryant is getting paid $30 million this season by himself. This means plenty of cap room to not only sign James, who making $19 million this year in Miami. But probably a few friends who want to go ring chasing as well.
I would be surprised if either Spencer Hawes or Thaddeus Young will be here past the trade deadline. However, I could see the 76ers holding on to Evan Turner. He maybe never be more valuable than he is now, but his talent with the right supporting cast could be tremendous.
However, his departure also wouldn’t shock me either. Its hard to really speculate about what the returns for those players would be. But if this regime stays consistent, it will result in low risk, young players and a decent amount of draft picks.
Take a look at the break down of pay over the next few years. The Sixers only owe their current roster $23 million next year and will have plenty of spots fill, as over half the roster is on the last year of their deals. That’s room for free agents and then some.
Now look at the standings. The Sixers are the third worst team in the NBA record wise. If they ended up in that position at the end of the year there is a 15.6 percent chance of getting the number one pick in the upcoming draft. Last year the third worst team in the league was Cleveland, and they ended up with the first pick.
You may also notice the standing of the New Orleans Pelicans. They are the 10th worst team in the NBA, which is not the best case scenario for the Sixers, but isn’t that bad either. Remember, Philadelphia got the Pelicans first round pick in the Jrue Holiday deal. However if the pick lands in the top 5, it is protected and stays with New Orleans.
If New Orleans ends up with any pick 6-through-15, the Sixers will have two valuable picks in an extremely deep draft.
Speculation mind you, but in that case the Sixers have the front-runner for Rookie of the Year in Michael Carter-Williams. Probably the most talented player in the previous draft in Nerlens Noel. Then two players in an extremely deep draft coming up, including the man that has been hyped up as the “Next LeBron,” in Andrew Wiggins.
Still with me?
To recap there is a good possibility the 76ers could have close to $35 million dollars under the cap going into next year, and that’s if you keep Turner and Young. This year’s cap was $58.3 million. The team will only have Carter-Williams, Noel, Arnett Moultrie, Tony Wroten and Jason Richardson, left on the payroll if Turner and Young are dealt. Which will free up an additional $17 million if they aren’t on the roster next season, hypothetically.
If some one was to ask me which five Sixers I would keep on the current roster, I may have to trade Richardson for Young, but that’s the group I’d want.
In the draft there is a good chance that the Sixers will have two top-15, if not not top-10 draft picks, with a decent shot at the number one pick. Adding deep talent to an already young squad, that will still be considerably cheap.
This team will go no where without some veteran leadership. Take a look at this free agency class as well. I’m sure that a few of those players wouldn’t mind playing in Philadelphia.
Despite this cities reputation, I have been to enough games to know, this city loves basketball. When you play here, it’s hard to match another city with intensity and fanfare. The 2001 NBA Finals run is still very alive in my mind, and I was 11.
That leads me to the last reason why LeBron James to Philadelphia is perfect for him, his legacy.
James could end up winning six titles in Miami, matching Jordan, and beating Kobe, and people would still bring up that he had to team up to do so. I’ll ignore the fact that in today’s NBA, teaming up is an everyday occurrence. But what could silence his critics more than winning a title in another city where the players came to him, and he didn’t go to them.
I think Kobe Bryant may have an opinion on that.
If all things are considered, Philadelphia may be the best basketball city in the country. From the high school realm, to the college level (and that’s much more than just the Big 5), and even to the 76ers, this city bleeds hoops.
However a lack of championships since 1983 has put Philly on the back burner. What could LeBron James honestly do, that would be better for his legacy, than bring an NBA title back to Philadelphia?
Any other place James goes he will be teaming up again with someone and people will continue to bring that up. If he doesn’t and signs with a team sans a true star, no team will have a better set up for him to go with than the 76ers. Then he can bring whomever he likes.
We don’t judge Paul Pierce for Ray Allen and KG, why judge LeBron for bringing in Greg Monroe, Luol Deng and Chris Bosh?
In the end the Sixers are growing into one of the most exciting young teams in the NBA, with probably the most cap room at the end of the year. Philly also has a quasi-destination aspect, and a passionate fan base salivating at the opportunity to taste glory again, in one of the best basketball cities in the world. What’s not to like?
I am well aware of how much of a long shot this is. But if I’m Sam Hinkie pitching this idea to LeBron in July at Mr. Chow’s in Miami. I don’t think he could walk away without a second look.
For himself, the city of Philadelphia, and the NBA, he should seriously think about it.