All-Star’s viral comment proves the 76ers free agency dream is still alive

This All-Star’s recent viral comment proves the free agency dream is still alive for the Philadelphia 76ers.
76ers, Tyrese Maxey
76ers, Tyrese Maxey / Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Free agency negotiations have unofficially begun, and for the Philadelphia 76ers, that means stomping on the accelerator as they rapidly approach a climactic point this offseason. The front office will have to fill in a plethora of open roster spots, all while addressing actual team needs to bolster their case for the championship in the following seasons.

While not technically a need, the 76ers have made it their summer-long vocation to form a vaunted Big Three with 2023 Most Valuable Player Joel Embiid and breakout star Tyrese Maxey already comprising the same. A slew of big names have been linked to the franchise to varying degrees, but Paul George has long been the desired option for the franchise.

Paul George’s viral comment proves the free agency dream is still alive for the 76ers

George, who was initially believe to be a near-lock to stay in Los Angeles and sign a lucrative extension with his current club, has yet to receive an offer that meets his demands. As a result, speculations of him potentially leaving the Clippers in free agency have popped up recently, and his latest comment only solidifies that stance.

Speaking on his own podcast, Podcast P, George bared what he’s looking for as he enters the open market this offseason when quizzed about the next chapter of his career.

"For sure contributing to winning basketball. I mean at this point… It’s not even about… Like people are saying, ‘chasing a championship.’ Like, it’s not that. But it’s playing the right style of basketball is what I’m chasing."

Paul George

It doesn’t take a genius to infer from his quote that he’s acknowledging the fact that he has optionality this time around. And based on his non-championship or bust mentality, it seems like he’s open to exploring avenues outside of Hollywood as he enters perhaps the final stretch of his prime.

The latter part of his statement, however, could be a subtle hint at how he sees his current value on his team considering his role. Just recently, he basically admitted that the James Harden trade shifted the team’s dynamic, which magnified his responsibility on defense instead of being the offensive savant he previously was by design.

"We lost RoCo. We lost Nico. Those were our glue guys … They would go get rebounds. They would rotate. They were defensive guys. They did a lot of the dirty work. Now… myself and Kawhi we become the dirty guys and have to score too. And it was just a lot."

That surely doesn’t appear to be a soundbite coming from a guy committed for the long run with his present team, right?

Anyhow, it’s increasingly likely that the 76ers now have a better shot at landing George in free agency. They’re really the only win-now team who can sign him outright to that max deal he and his camp so desire. Heck, even Embiid has shown indications about his desire to have the nine-time All-Star on board.

Hopefully, Philadelphia comes out as PG-13’s next home. While his injury history and age stand as valid concerns, his skill set and two-way impact makes way too much sense for a 76ers team still looking to snap a 41-year championship drought.

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