Storyline: LeBron James to Sixers?

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Sources have said that this is not an obligatory meeting with James’ representatives. The free agent is really interested in playing for the Sixers, according to the source. The forward would welcome playing alongside all-star center Joel Embiid and point guard Ben Simmons, the rookie of the year. He’s also impressed with coach Brett Brown and the Sixers’ state-of-the-art facility. And by coming to Philly, James believes he would have a great chance to play in his ninth consecutive NBA Finals.

On Thursday before the draft, Power Home Remodeling struck again — this time, with airplanes. Per their news release, they paid to have three planes fly over Barclays Center and along the Hudson River for four hours, stopping around 7:30 p.m. ET, with the following messages: 23/Crown image + Liberty Bell image = GOAT image, Strive for GOAT-ness and #PhillyWantsLeBron

LeBron James recruiting season is officially open, and Joel Embiid is wasting NO time in courting the King to jump to the city of brotherly love. We got Sixers superstar leaving Craig’s Friday night — a couple hours after the Cavs got swept out of the NBA Finals. — and asked him about the not-so-subtle tweet he fired off as the game was ending. Joel hinted on social media, but he was way more direct with our photog. As he walked out, we asked him to explain the “find a new slant” comment … and he said, LeBron needs to “find a new team … Sixers!”

The answer, at least the top target, is clear as day, with James expected by all to decline his player option with the Cleveland Cavaliers and enter free agency. Brown can’t admit that LeBron’s the top target, at least not by name, but he still sort of did. “I’m not here to tell names,” Brown said on the topic, before acknowledging that the answer is an easy one to arrive at. “To me, the answer becomes clear.” After a long, somewhat awkward pause before the next question, Brown continued. “It’s true though, right? I mean, like, we don’t have to turn this into calculus. It’s quite clear.”

I will continue to trumpet the belief that James would be making a huge mistake to leave the Eastern Conference that he has dominated for years by joining the Houston Rockets or Los Angeles Lakers and potentially complicating his annual path to the championship round. But the Cavaliers suddenly look so rickety again that I now fully understand why whispers about the Philadelphia 76ers and their growing behind-the-scenes confidence that they can woo LeBron to Philly this summer are getting louder.
4 months ago via SLAM

Is there an actual chance LeBron goes to the 76ers? CJ McCollum: “He’s always (been) calculated about his decision-making process going back to his youth. Ben [Simmons] is his young guy. Ben is a member of Klutch Sports, so that also could play a factor. Philly is in the Eastern Conference. LeBron has been fond of the Eastern Conference throughout his career on what seems to be his EZ-Pass to the Finals. I think it’s a bigger possibility than people think. I’m not sure if they have the space financially for that. Obviously, they have a lot of guys on rookie deals right now. But they would need to get some more shooters in there if they do want to bring Bron in.”
5 months ago via ESPN

Emrani says he has paid to put up four billboards around Los Angeles trying to recruit James to join the Lakers in free agency in response to previous billboards erected in Cleveland and Pennsylvania trying to convince James to join the Sixers and remain with the Cavaliers, respectively. As the Cavaliers make their only trip of the regular season to Los Angeles to face the Clippers on Friday and the Lakers on Sunday, Emrani wants James to know he’s wanted in purple and gold. The Lakers have the ability to create as much as $70 million in cap space to pursue two max free agent stars like James and Oklahoma City’s Paul George this summer.

There’s been some growing “LeBron to Philly” buzz for four reasons: the Sixers have enough cap space and trade assets to accommodate LeBron and the likes of, say, PAUL GEORGE; Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are two of the league’s best under-25 blue-chippers (young legs!); Klutch represents Simmons (hmmmmm); and NBA insiders have been gossiping about an increasingly cozy Philly–LeBron’s circle connection since November. You want a quality narrative? What about this one:

Alex: What do you think LeBron will do? If you had to make a prediction: Do you think he re-signs in Cleveland? Or does he go to Los Angeles, Houston? What do you think he does? Marc Spears: I think it depends on how he finishes. I believe the way they lost at the end last time—or perhaps he decided earlier—but it seems like both his departures came after hard season endings, although his mind may have been made up before. Like, for example, no one probably would have mentioned [Philadelphia] beforehand, but now Philly is interesting, right? People would have assumed Lakers before, but now ‘oh, no, he wouldn’t consider the Lakers.’ With him, I think it’s fluid. And I also think that if the Cavs were to get the No. 1 pick, you know, get a top top pick with that pick, that potentially he could get a young guy—like, what if he was able to get a top-three pick there? It might be more attractive to stay. With him, to be honest, I don’t know that there’s a good prediction to make because there’s too many different scenarios going on that could affect what he decides.

Let’s start with rudimentary salary cap issues. The Sixers are one of a few teams who have significant salary cap space to use in the summer of 2018. They would need to make a few moves to get close to a $34 million max salary for James in year one, but it can be done. Let’s also point out that James on media day in September said nothing has happened that has changed his stance about finishing his career with the Cavaliers. He also said, “Anytime I’m able to be a free agent or my contract is ending, I’ll approach that when the summer comes.”
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August 14, 2018 | 4:27 am EDT Update
Lamar Odom: My last night in this amazing city! Getting ready for my next chapter in China and closing my last chapter in The Netherlands with my manager @iamzoul Had an amazing time in your hometown Rotterdam and thank you @mr2rchiang for assigning this woman to me that became like the sister I never had. The past two weeks felt great and I worked hard on my conditioning and gaining muscle strength. I have started a new healthy food program and I feel like I already gained back 50% of what I used to be during my glory times. I will continue to work hard and will share with all of you updates of my new journey. I will be back soon Netherlands!! 🧀🇳🇱🌷#teamlamarodom #nextstophongkong #bye @ninetyplusofficial

Storyline: Lamar Odom Free Agency
A year out from what could be an enormous 2019 free agency in the NBA, there are rumors about the next potential super-team. Two league sources told Business Insider that there is a buzz about the Boston Celtics’ Kyrie Irving and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Jimmy Butler teaming up next summer, with one source saying the chatter is “substantial.” Both sources also said the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets could be well-positioned to land the two players if they are indeed keen on teaming up.
Storyline: Jimmy Butler Free Agency
One source called the summers of 2017 and 2018 “anomalies” in the way those second- or third-tier players struggled to find long-term contracts. There were more players signing deals like Avery Bradley did with the Los Angeles Clippers this year (two years, $24 million) than Will Barton did with the Denver Nuggets (four years, $54 million). The same source believes 2019 could begin a “return to normalcy” for those players. However, several sources also cautioned against the idea of a spending spree akin to 2016. Teams have learned their lessons from some of the massive four-year deals handed out that summer that looked almost immediately regrettable, sources said. It seems unlikely, for example, that we’ll see players like Timofey Mozgov get four-year, $64 million deals.
Mike D’Antoni: “Well, at different points of people’s careers or lives or circumstances, things are different. … In New York, when they gave away half the team (to Denver in the February 2011 trade that brought Anthony to the Knicks) and everybody expected us to win a championship, it really wasn’t realistic. It put a lot of pressure on everybody, and it kind of burst the pipes. I think this is totally different. We’ve got a team that is a whole bunch of veterans that really, we’ve got one thing in mind, and that’s to win a championship, and we have the possibility. We never had a blow-up before, so it’s not he wanted to play a certain way and I kind of wanted to coach another way. “Back then, there wasn’t even analytics. I was going by my gut, and he was going by (his) gut, and it’s just, you know, styles clash. And I think now, things have changed and everybody is playing the same way. I think it’s a lot better fit and I think we have a really good chance to be really good.”