How can the Sixers get LeBron’s attention?

Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers(Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)
Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers(Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Do the Philadelphia 76ers have a legitimate shot at signing the King?

There was a point not too long ago when the Philadelphia 76ers were favorites to sign LeBron James. Those odds have since changed, with insiders now pointing to Cleveland and L.A. as his most likely destinations.

As things currently stand, the Sixers seem like the third wheel in LeBron’s decision-making process. They’re on the list of options, but few people expect him to make the move to South Philly.

The question is simple: how can the Sixers get LeBron’s attention.

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Many people expect LeBron to make a quick decision, potentially before the 4th of July holiday. That means the Sixers have minimal time to make their case, whether that be an official meeting or Ben Simmons hitting up his phone.

From a basketball standpoint, the Sixers are his best available option. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George might change that, but Philly also has the ability to sign LeBron and acquire Leonard. As of right now, those two don’t change the fact that his best chance at competing is in Philadelphia.

With the Sixers, LeBron would be playing next to two ready-made stars in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Young studs who defend at an elite level and still have room to grow. As LeBron gets older, Simmons and Embiid would be able to carry the torch into the future. It’s an ideal marriage.

The on-court fit in questionable, but Brett Brown is one of the smartest basketball minds out there. Embiid can space the floor enough, while Simmons’ basketball I.Q. and off-ball potential should allow him to find success next to James.

On top of that, Brown staggers minutes, meaning the Sixers can keep one of LeBron and Simmons on the court at all times. That allows the Sixers to run teams out of the gym with elite playmaking, all while giving LeBron more rest than he ever had in Cleveland.

The Sixers are also in the Eastern Conference, meaning LeBron wouldn’t have to go through Golden State and Houston just to reach the Finals. The current Sixers roster with LeBron would be heavy favorites in the East, quickly surpassing the Celtics.

So all that, again, begs the question: how can the Sixers make that clear to LeBron?

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At this point in the process, it seems like James’ decision will be based on more than just basketball. He grew up around Cleveland and lives in L.A., meaning his family would be most comfortable in those two spots. If that is ultimately his deciding factor, the Sixers might not have much of a chance.

If he’s still chasing titles, though, the Sixers need to push as hard as possible in their pitch to James. Simmons is a close friend of his, while Embiid has been vocal about his desire to play next to LeBron. Get those three in a room, with Brett Brown talking strategy, and there’s a decent chance that James’ interest can be piqued.

James doesn’t want an elaborate pitch either, which should benefit the Sixers. Even without acknowledging the Sixers’ fanbase — which is one of the best in the NBA — the NBA landscape favors Philly over L.A. and Cleveland in a basketball-centric vacuum.

Simmons having the same agent as LeBron could play a big role here. They’re close and have a direct line of contact on multiple fronts, which could lead James to consider (or at least be pushed to consider) the Sixers as a legitimate option.

Next: The risk/reward of trading for Kawhi

Free agency starts at midnight, July 1. We’re starting to count down the hours until James is on the clock and looking to make a decision. It should be a fun week.