Philadelphia 76ers: If Lebron James wants to win, the choice is clear

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

With NBA free agency underway, the Philadelphia 76ers and the rest of the NBA are waiting for Lebron James to decide where he will be playing next season.

As the month of June trekked along, and the July 1st free agency opening neared, many NBA fans (and blogs) began to speculate where the league’s top players would end up. The same could be said about the fans of the Philadelphia 76ers, as after a 52 win season, the team was ready to take that next step towards championship contention.

Many big-name players had been rumored to be in the interests of the 76ers. From the likes of Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, and of course, the grand prize of free agency, Lebron James.

And once free agency began, the dominoes began to fall.

George opted to remain with the Thunder and Chris Paul re-signed with Houston; which, when looking at the big picture, is good for the Sixers, as it likely takes the Rockets out of the running for James.

Still, many big name players remain out there to be signed. Demarcus Cousins is still fielding calls from teams like the Pelicans; and, of course, the Sixers top priority, Lebron James, has yet to make his decision. While some pundits claim to know where Lebron will end up, no one will truly know anything until it becomes official.

However, it does appear as though the Lebron sweepstakes is down to just three contestants: the Sixers, Lakers, and Cavaliers, with Cleveland being seemingly a long shot to lure James back to Cleveland. While the Lakers may seem like the favorite to land Lebron, we truly won’t know his desires until a decision is made, and the Sixers most certainly know that.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Brett Brown and the Sixers’ ownership group met with Lebron’s agent, Rich Paul, and his representatives, but Lebron was not present at this meeting. Paul also just so happens to be the agent of Sixers young star Ben Simmons.


More from Philadelphia 76ers

The Sixers are obviously meeting with James’ reps because they feel that they have an extremely strong chance in landing the 14-time NBA All-Star, and of all teams for Lebron to consider, the Sixers may actually have the best situation for James moving forward.

When looking at the reported top two teams in the James-sweepstakes, the Sixers, and Lakers, there are extremely strong selling points for each team. But does one team have the upper hand in possibly signing Lebron?

The big question that has to be asked is what is more important to Lebron at this point in his career, winning, or off the field opportunities? If winning is his biggest concern, then there’s only one team he should be considering, and that is the 76ers.

One of the biggest issues Lebron had in Cleveland was clearly a lack of a supporting cast. Choosing Philadelphia would solve that problem instantaneously. Not only do the Sixers have a solid collection of role players, Lebron would get to team up with young stars, Joel Embiid and Simmons, with $35 million in cap room to bolster the roster even further.

Getting the opportunity to team up with those two is an opportunity that James’ will not receive elsewhere, and is something that the Lakers cannot match. The Lakers do have a nice young core, but nothing close to the level of what Simmons and Embiid have to offer.

The Sixers also reportedly told Lebron’s camp that they will do whatever they can to land Kawhi Leonard in a trade and team him up with James, Embiid, and Simmons moving forward. Worst case scenario: the Sixers don’t land Kawhi, but still have a big three of James, Embiid, and Simmons; in addition to solid surrounding pieces ready to dominate the Eastern Conference.

There is a much lower risk with James coming to the Sixers, rather than going to the Lakers. In order to compete with the Golden State Warriors, Lebron would need at least another superstar to join him in LA. Whether it be Leonard through trade, or possibly Cousins through free agency James alone is not going to bring a championship to the City of Angels.

Related Story: Dario Saric is criminally underappreciated

But the risk Lebron takes in going to LA is that there are no bonafide superstars already there and even if they get someone to team up with James, it won’t be nearly enough to beat Golden State anytime soon, especially after resigning Kevin Durant. With the Sixers, there are already two superstars on the roster to pair with Lebron, with the possibility of adding Kawhi if the Sixers can make a deal.

But, on the contrary, a strong point for Lebron signing with the Lakers would be an opportunity to finally take up residence in Los Angeles year round and ease his transition into post-basketball life. While that is a strong point, as he does own a production company in Los Angeles already, Lebron should be focused on winning and trying to add even more championships to his impressive list of accomplishments while he’s still in his prime, and what better place to do it than with the up and coming Sixers? With Simmons and Markelle Fultz already in the fold, James could finally fall back into a secondary role with the team in the regular season and save his strength for the playoffs, where the King often shines.

But when will Lebron make his decision? That we do not know.

Next: 3 key reactions to the 76ers meeting with LeBron James' representatives

However, we do know that over the next handful of days, teams will continue to pitch to Lebron on why he should play for them, and he will have a lot of decisions to make on what he wants to do next in his career. But there is one thing for him to keep in mind, if he wants to win championships and continue to etch his name in the history books, the choice is clear of where Lebron James should go: the Philadelphia 76ers.