By Jimmy Traub

So, as the Celtics and Mavs seem headed to the NBA Finals, Sixers fans are concentrating on how Daryl Morey can use the $60 million he has under the cap and a boatload of draft picks to sign free agents and make sure Philly is playing this time next year.

Will Paul George maybe re-sign with the Clippers?

That is not a lock.

But the Clippers are moving into a new building and owner Steve Ballmer wants to do that with a splash, plus the Clippers can’t replace him if he leaves (they are capped out), so a deal likely gets done.

Tomer Azarly of Clutch Points:.

…there have been rumblings that George, 34 years of age and entering his last big contract, wanted the fourth year as part of extension talks. The Clippers, according to sources not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, had been reluctant to add that fourth year and were not offering him the max as of right now…

George just had a prime opportunity to prove his worthiness of the max contract that he’s desired. If he found a way to lead his Clippers to the second round without Kawhi Leonard, that might’ve been enough to warrant and secure him the contract he wanted — at the very least from another team if not from the Clippers. Instead, he turned in his worst statistical postseason since his third season in the league with the Indiana Pacers.

Kawhi Leonard signed a 3-year extension just below the max to stay with the Clippers. Los Angeles is hesitant to give George an extra year and more money. The conventional wisdom NBC Sports has heard from league sources is that the two sides work something out, but every day he feels closer to free agency.

The Sixers want George, but how about a four-year max?

Here is what The Ringer’s Kevin O’Conner said recently on “The Bill Simmons Podcast”:

“Well, the Sixers think there’s a real chance they end up with Paul George. From my understanding, talking with people around the league, they think there’s a real chance he ends up leaving. No guarantees, but there’s a chance of it.”

If Joel Embiid and George (along with Tyrese Maxey, we’re not really worried about him) can get to the East playoffs healthy, they are a threat. However, history suggests the odds of all that coming together are fairly long. Still, George as an excellent two-way wing between Maxey and Embiid makes a lot of sense, but is it four years at the max sense?

Donovan Mitchell probably stays in Cleveland, but Philly is watching him. There is no way J.B. Bickerstaff is fired as the Cavaliers coach if Donovan Mitchell wanted him to stay. That was clearly a step in the Cavaliers’ efforts to get Mitchell to sign a four-year, $208.5 million max contract extension they will put in front of him this summer. There is confidence in Cleveland that he wants to stay and will sign the deal, but that the team will need to be re-worked around him (which could well mean a new backcourt mate other than Darius Garland, even if GM Koby Altman said he would like to keep the core together).

Philadephia has its eyes on Mitchell should things not work out with George, reports Jake Fischer at Yahoo Sports.

Without an extension with the Cavaliers, you can add Philadelphia to any proverbial group of interested suitors in Mitchell’s services, sources said.

• If not George or Mitchell then who for Philadelphia? If George and Mitchell end up re-signing with their current teams — a real possibility — where do Daryl Morey and the 76ers go?

If, as expected, the Pelicans make Brandon Ingram available by trade, he becomes an option. However, New Orleans is a win-now team that will want good players back, not picks, making trading for Ingram difficult for a 76ers team that stripped down its roster to have max cap space.

Chicago shopped Zach LaVine at the trade deadline and will again this summer as the two sides are ready to part ways. That also would mean taking on the three years, nearly $138 million LaVine is still owed (for another player with a lengthy injury history).

Despite what Pat Riley said at his press conference, there are rumblings from other teams that Miami could be open to parting ways with Jimmy Butler rather than extending him (although he most likely stays). Re-uniting Butler and Joel Embiid could work, something Fischer mentions at Yahoo Sports. He also notes DeMar DeRozan is a free agent, but that’s not an ideal fit.

Washington tried to trade Kyle Kuzma at the deadline but could not find a deal it liked. He will be back on the trade market this summer and could be a fall-back option for Philly.

Pascal Siakam and LeBron James could be a free agent this summer, but neither is a realistic option for Philly. Morey could try to come in with a big money offer to poach OG Anunoby from the Knicks, but that is also highly unlikely.

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