By Harry Allison
Buckle up, Sixers fans.
The King may be coming!
Questions about LeBron James’ future with the Cleveland Cavaliers have centered around his frustrations with the franchise, which made no offseason moves.
He has been linked to several teams after the 2017-18 season, namely the Lakers and Clippers, but the Sixers may be in the mix as well.
Vegas odds give the 2017-18 Sixers the 10th-best odds to win the NBA title–without seeing a minute of Ben Simmons or Markelle Fultz on the court. If a playoff team emerges around Simmons, Fultz and Joel Embiid, Philly will be looked at as a future contender in the East without James.
With him, the Sixers could be a favorite.
Adding to the intrigue: The relationship, through Klutch Sports, between James and Simmons. The two have been photographed together multiple times this summer.
Lastly, the Sixers–after insisting on one-year commitments to free agents this offseason–can have max cap space to pursue a free agent next summer. With so much of the league up against the luxury tax, few suitors will be able to offer LeBron a soon-to-be title contender and a max contract.
Cap space? Check. Rising team? Check. Cavs’ issues forcing James out again? Check. Connection to one of Philadelphia’s building blocks? Check.
According to Spotrac, the 76ers project to have over $61 million in cap space next summer, giving them enough room to sign LeBron and another star player to a max contract while not having to part with any of their young core. Joel Embiid will be a restricted free agent and could be in for a big pay raise if he stays healthy, but the Sixers are already working on a contract extension with him.
Next year’s free agency class is loaded. Among the players who can or will be unrestricted free agents next summer include LeBron, Paul George, Russell Westbrook, DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan. Even if they can’t land LeBron, the Sixers will likely target those players.