According to reports, the Philadelphia 76ers will pursue both Paul George and Kawhi Leonard this offseason.
It’s no secret that the Philadelphia 76ers will be looking to make a big splash this summer. LeBron James has been touted as their top free agent target since midway through the season, but according to Keith Pompey, he isn’t the only name Bryan Colangelo will be pursuing.
If James decides against coming to South Philly, the Sixers will also take a look at Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. Both fill some of the Sixers’ foremost needs, giving them another athletic wing defender who can create shots and space the floor.
George has been tied to both the Thunder and the Lakers, which remain his most likely destinations. The California native has openly talked about his desire to play for his hometown team, which might put the Sixers at No. 3 on his list in free agency.
Still, the fit is obvious, and something George would have to consider. He’d join arguably the best defensive core in the league, playing next to three All-Defense caliber pieces in Joel Embiid, Robert Covington and Ben Simmons.
He’d also fix most of the Sixers’ offensive woes. He’s excellent off the ball, allowing the offense to run through Simmons and Embiid, but he’s also capable of putting the ball on the floor and creating shots when needed. That’s the archetype Philly badly lacked against Boston in the conference semis.
Leonard would fill the same role, only at a higher level. The Sixers would need to clear him medically, but Leonard is arguably one of the five best players in the league when healthy. He’d instantly launch them to championship contention.
While not a free agent, Leonard’s future with the Spurs is largely unknown. His camp could be pushing for a move to a bigger market, and the Sixers would certainly fall into that category.
Kawhi has already won two Defensive Player of the Year awards and a Finals MVP. He has playoff experience and is one of the most dynamic two-way players the league has seen in quite some time. The Sixers would have to give up significant pieces to obtain him, but — again, assuming health — such a move would be worth it.
This summer should be an exciting one for Sixers fans. They finally have a team that’s built to compete, and there’s a very real chance that another star joins the mix.
It’s almost like Sam Hinkie’s plan was to grab high-level talent through the draft, maintain financial flexibility, and then add somebody else on the open market.