By Tommy Matthews

It’s July 5, and the Summer League hasn’t even started.

But USA Today has a prophetic prediction:

The 2024-25 NBA Finals: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Philadelphia 76ers.

Given the way free agency is playing out and given the changing dynamics of the league where six different teams have won the title in the past six seasons, that’s as likely a Finals matchup as any.

Now, will it be Thunder-76ers for the title in 2025?

That will play out over 82 regular-season games and two months of playoff basketball – and of course, trades and injuries alter the landscape.

But in the early days of free agency, the Thunder and Sixers have made moves that put them in great position for this season.

Thunder-Sixers Finals? The Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves are among the teams that will try to prevent that from happening.

In win-now mode, the 76ers wanted a high-quality wing and a long-term deal for restricted free agent and All-Star guard Tyrese Maxey.

They got that and more in a free agency period they had targeted as the right time to make significant moves.

The Sixers added All-Star forward Paul George, who had a fantastic 2023-24 season, and agreed to a long-time extension with the 23-year-old Maxey.

With All-Star and 2022-23 MVP Joel Embiid, the Sixers have arguably the best guard-wing-center trio in the league.

They brought back Kelly Oubre, added depth at center in Andre Drummond and depth at guard in Eric Gordon.

Plus, they have five tradeable first-round picks if the right opportunity arises.

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