Another option would be to waive Bayless and stretch his salary over three years. This move would allow the Sixers to immediately free up money, something they would need to do to be able to sign free-agent target LeBron James to a maximum salary of $35.63 million this coming season.
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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.
Jon Johnson: Per source, Sixers meeting with Lebron was not originally planned.
Sources says the Sixers are not out of James’ free agency hunt. Now, things could change if the Lakers are able to trade for San Antonio Spurs two-time all-star forward Kawhi Leonard. Under that scenerio, James would probably like to play alongside Leonard. However, sources have said that the Sixers are still in the hunt for trading for Leonard as well.
Marc Stein: Among the Sixers’ planned top selling points to LeBron James’ agent Rich Paul today: Philly believes it still has a real chance to win the Kawhi Leonard trade sweepstakes, league sources say
A high-level Philadelphia 76ers contingent is meeting with LeBron James’ agent, Rich Paul, on Sunday in Los Angeles, league sources told ESPN. James isn’t expected to attend the meeting, which is the first significant chance for the 76ers to make case a free-agent case to James, league sources said. Ownership and possibly interim president of basketball operations/coach Brett Brown are expected to lead the meeting with James’ representatives, sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Philadelphia is meeting with LeBron James and his reps today in Los Angeles, league sources tell ESPN.
Bobby Marks: Not surprised by the LeBron decision. The impact is that a sign and trade (see Houston) would likely be off the table because of the hard cap and the pool of teams now shrink to a possible 3…..Cleveland, LA Lakers and Philadelphia.
Then Embiid, who paired with Rookie of the Year favorite Ben Simmons this season to end the 76ers’ five-year playoff drought, said something revealing about potentially adding James. “He’s the best player in the league at this moment, so I think he takes us to another level, which is important because at the end of the day, I want to be a champion,” said Embiid. “I want to do it myself. I want to have a lot to do with winning a championship or bringing a championship back to the city of Philadelphia.”
Brian Windhorst: “My feel is that LeBron James is not picking up his player option – that LeBron is going into unrestricted free agency, and that will result basically in San Antonio and Houston being out of the mix. I think he will interact with [San Antonio and Houston], but I think it’s Philadelphia, Cleveland or Los Angeles [Lakers], with Cleveland or L.A. being the two real choices and Philly sort of being there.”
The #PhillyWantsLeBron campaign made it to New York City for the 2018 NBA draft. It started when Pennsylvania company, Power Home Remodeling, put up a series of billboards in Cleveland to ask LeBron James to join the 76ers and #CompleteTheProcess. The billboards got a response from James, who said they were “dope,” and resulted in Cleveland companies hitting back with their owns signs.
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
But outspoken TNT analyst Charles Barkley, who played in Philadelphia for the first eight seasons of his Hall of Fame NBA career, is adamant that James won’t be suiting up for the Sixers next season. “He’s not coming to the Sixers,” Barkley said Tuesday on The Mike Missanelli Show. “He’s not coming to the Sixers because he needs the ball, Simmons needs the ball and Embiid needs the ball. That would make Simmons useless.
As everyone wonders where LeBron James will be next season, Eagles QB Carson Wentz told reporters that he’d be happy to help the 76ers convince James to sign with Philadelphia. Wentz, who was in Cleveland with Zach Ertz to see the Warriors sweep the Cavaliers in Game 4 of the NBA Finals last week, says he didn’t get to speak with James that night, but he hopes he knows they were there to watch him in person.
“Absolutely. I hope he’s coming,” Wentz said when asked if he’d be part of recruiting James if the Sixers asked him to help. “Ertz and I were there (at Game 4) the other night. Unfortunately, he lost and everything. I didn’t really care who won in that game. But just seeing that, seeing him live, we decided to make it a recruiting trip.”
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!”
Joel Embiid: Trust The Process!!!! Find a new slant @KingJames
Jon Johnson: David Griffin on Lebron James possibly to Sixers on @ZachGelb show on @CBSSportsRadio: “I do think it’s significant that Rich Paul is the representative for Ben Simmons as well, so he’s going to know the org very well. That will certainly give them a leg up”
Team president of basketball operation and general manager Bryan Colangelo said the Sixers could have roughly $25 million available in cap space to attract free agents. James is projected to make at least $35 million next season.
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.
CJ McCollum thinks that LeBron James joining the Philadelphia 76ers next season “is a bigger possibility than people think.” On the premiere episode of the Pull Up podcast, McCollum reasoned that staying in the East, and playing alongside “his young guy” Ben Simmons could make Philly an attractive destination for LeBron (starting at 38:24).
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.”
There’s been whispers, mostly on social media, about whether LeBron James would consider the Spurs because of the mutual respect between James and Popovich, now the coach of the USA men’s basketball team. But I’ve consistently heard from multiple league sources that LeBron currently has only four teams on his list: the Cavaliers, Lakers, Rockets, and 76ers.
John Gonzalez: So now, people all of a sudden are talking about LeBron James [to Philadelphia]. I was shocked at Sloan [Conference] by how many conversations with people I had who went, ‘Yeah, he’s thinking about it.’ Before it just felt like Sixers fan fiction. And now, it’s like, maybe he could.
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.
A few minutes after sending his first post, Embiid had another tweet, probably realizing the firestorm he had started. “It’s not what y’all think lol,” he wrote.
Billboards from Philly-based companies. An immensely talented and playoff-bound core. Embiid’s tweet. Philadelphia is doing its part to entice James. “He knows,” Simmons said when asked about whether James sees what’s happening with the Sixers. “He knows. He’s a very smart guy. His IQ on the court is amazing.”
No, LeBron James was not in Philadelphia over the All-Star break checking out schools for his children. “Pennsylvania? Nah. What are you talking about?” James said. “Over the All-Star break, I was on vacation and then went to Los Angeles.”
Jon Johnson: After speaking to several individuals around the league the past few days, Lebron to philly has a much higher percentage of happening than most think. One league source told me, “50/50.”
Rick Noland: LJ on billboards: “It’s not a distraction. It’s actually very flattering that I’m sitting here at 33 in my 15th year and … people in their respective city want me to play for them. That’s cool, I think. That’s dope.”
If James, who can become a free agent after this season, decides to leave the Cavaliers, he could – and should – consider the 76ers, and executives around the league believe Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo will attempt to sign James. The Sixers are an intriguing possibility, and if James’ goal remains competing for championships and Cleveland is no longer the place, the Sixers can make a compelling case.
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.
If LeBron James, who can become a free agent after this season, decides to leave the Cavaliers, he could – and should – consider the 76ers, and executives around the league believe Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo will attempt to sign James. The Sixers are an intriguing possibility, and if James’ goal remains competing for championships and Cleveland is no longer the place, the Sixers can make a compelling case.
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.”
LeBron James and Ben Simmons share the same agent, Klutch Sports’ Rich Paul, and while that doesn’t guarantee anything, Paul can deliver to James insight about the Sixers’ operations. James is already a fan of Brett Brown, the Sixers’ coach. “The organization has done a great job believing in Brett Brown’s system, believing in what he wanted to do and they gave him time,” James said before the Cavaliers beat the Sixers 113-91 on Monday.
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January 21, 2019 | 11:45 am EST Update
Albert Nahmad: Kenneth Faried is set to clear waivers at 5:00 pm EST today. If the Rockets want to sign him before tonight’s game, they’ll need to first clear a roster spot. If they can’t find a Carmelo Anthony trade in that span of time, they’ll just terminate James Nunnally’s 10-day contract.
Charlotte Hornets General Manager Mitch Kupchak announced today that the team has assigned forward Dwayne Bacon and guard Devonte’ Graham to the Greensboro Swarm, the team’s NBA G League affiliate. Dwayne Bacon has appeared in 23 games averaging 4.6 points, 1.5 rebounds and 0.7 assists in 10.6 minutes per game in his second season with the Charlotte Hornets. Bacon was selected 40th overall in 2017 NBA Draft by New Orleans and acquired by Charlotte, along with cash considerations, in exchange for Frank Jackson (31st overall) on draft night. The assignment to the Greensboro Swarm will mark the eighth of the 2018-19 G League season for Dwayne Bacon. He has appeared in seven games for the Swarm, averaging 20.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 33.1 minutes per game.
According to Kanter, his absence from two games earlier this month was the result of a stomach bug, not overeating. Last week, the center posted a picture of himself getting ready to chow down on 13 burgers on his ‘cheat day.’ He missed practice the following day and then the next two games, on Jan. 11 and 13. “It was not burgers, man. Although I ate a lot of burgers that night. It was flu, it was definitely flu,” Kanter said. “Because we just came back from a long road trip and we landed 7-something AM and I only slept like one hour. And of course, it’s New York, it’s pretty cold. So I had the flu.”
Enes Kanter has spent years – and most of last week – speaking on the injustices in his home country of Turkey. On Monday, he’ll be playing on MLK Day and honoring America’s most famous civil rights leader. The meaning isn’t lost on Kanter. “Of course man, it means a lot. Everybody, whoever fights for freedom, if you’re fighting for democracy or human rights. It shows a lot,” said the NBA’s most politically-charged player. “So it will definitely be a blessing to have that day and play that day. So it will be an honor to go out there and wear this (Martin Luther King Jr.) t-shirt and play because he fought for something very important.”
January 21, 2019 | 7:12 am EST Update
Thompson stands to make $18.5 million next season. That’s a big number to take on, even if it’s only for one year, because of the 2019 free-agent sweepstakes so many teams want to have salary-cap space for. Unless Thompson puts a team over the top, then it would probably make more sense for a team to trade for him next season. The Cavs want him around to shepherd younger players through the early stages of this rebuild. They’ll probably be able to get better assets in return for him at next year’s trade deadline. There’s also a chance the Cavs want Thompson long term, and could, therefore, keep him and offer him an extension over the summer. What he thinks: “Blake Griffin got traded. At the end of the day, if the trade is right and the pieces are guys they feel can help the franchise moving forward, I’m totally understanding. It’s a business. If you don’t have a no-trade clause, anything can happen.”
In chasing Davis, the Lakers may need a push from his agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, who also represents James. “I’d say if the [Philadelphia 76ers offer Ben] Simmons, or with the [Boston] Celtics’ package of picks and young players, the Lakers would probably be third,” the former executive said. “One would think that [Pelicans general manager] Dell [Demps] would want a deal done around the draft [with Boston’s picks].”