Why LeBron James Might Join The Philadelphia 76ers Next Season

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(Photo: Getty Images)

Once you ignore the other team he’s rumored to be bound for, it all makes sense: Is LeBron James joining the Philadelphia 76ers in 2018-19?

Obviously, Philly certainly hopes so.

According to USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt, “executives around the league believe Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo will attempt to sign James” this offseason, when the four-time MVP can opt out of the last year of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

If the strength of the Lakers Angeles Lakers’ LeBron magnet isn’t as strong as we’ve been led to believe it is, the 76ers actually make the perfect landing spot for an aging star looking to both prolong his career and capture as many titles as possible before retirement.

First, they’re one of the few teams that could easily create cap space to fit LeBron onto the team—all it’d take is something like not bringing back the likes of J.J. Redick, Amir Johnson, and Nik Stauskas. Fine players. But not worth losing LeBron over.

Second, they have a stable of young stars that appear on a path to be better than any teammate he’s had in Cleveland, including dominating big man Joel Embiid and dynamic play-making forward Ben Simmons, whom 76ers coach Brett Brown once compared to LeBron.

“You know at times, you can see like a younger LeBron where you’re not sure what position he is,” Brown said in May 2016. “One moment you think he’s a four, maybe he’s a three, he looks comfortable handling the ball. When you say, ‘What is your identifiable, NBA elite skill?’ most people will go immediately to passing.

“You take that collection of comments and add it to a 6’10 frame, the comparisons to [Magic Johnson and LeBron] could be a little bit reckless, could be a little bit ambitious, but there is no denying he really does come to the draft with a very unique skill package.”

Throw in the far-off star potential of Markelle Fultz and elite three-and-D wing Robert Covington, and you’ve got a young core that could grow into perennial contenders, with or without the Cavs superstar.

The third reason LeBron could be Philly-bound is geographical. Why join the Lakers in the Western Conference when LeBron can remain in the comfy, typically less competitive confines of the Eastern Conference?

Is LeBron James joining the Philadelphia 76ers next season? We can’t say.

But there’s a damn good case that he should.