The 76ers should withdraw from the LeBron James sweepstakes
Tonight the LeBron James sweepstakes could be underway as the Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Golden State Warriors in a win or go home Game 4.
After being eliminated by the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals the 76ers made it clear that they plan to go after a big name free agent this summer. To no one’s surprise, Philadelphia head coach Brett Brown along with Joel Embiid indicated that they are interested in acquiring James.
Now James is no doubt the best basketball player on the planet. However, the 76ers may want to reconsider going all in on the Akron native. Tonight the Cavaliers will probably end up being swept by the Warriors. If the four-time MVP loses tonight he will most likely leave Cleveland again.
Multiple sources confirmed that the Sixers plan to heavily pursue James and Paul George this summer. Kawhi Leonard’s name has been brought up in possible trades but it is unlikely to happen. All three superstars could help the 76ers take the next step. But the Sixers should withdraw from the James sweepstakes for four key reasons.
— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) May 14, 2018
1. Don’t jeopardize Ben Simmons growth
Throughout the league, people praise Simmons for his court vision, ball handling, and basketball IQ. One weakness in the 21-year-old point/forwards game is his shooting. In order to be effective, the former LSU Tiger needs the ball in his hands. If James decided to sign with the 76ers it would stunt Simmons growth. Now I know that you believe that the addition of James screams championship. But let’s hold off on the championship banner for a moment because the team would still need to add a few more pieces.
Now if King James takes his talents to the City of Brotherly Love Simmons could potentially fall to the third offensive option. Last season the lefty averaged 15.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 8.2 assists with a .22.2 usage percentage. The Australian native finished second in usage percentage under Embiids .29.7 percent. As of now, James has a .31.6 (USG%) with the Cavs. If Philadelphia signs the LBJ in the offseason he will require the ball in his hands as well as Simmons.
In recent reports, James mentioned that he would like to play off the ball next season. LBJ playing off the ball sounds good but let’s face the facts we don’t know what that looks like. The 33-year-old has the ability to post up around the block, make appropriate cuts and shoot efficiently from mid-range. On the other hand, the King has only shot .40 percent from beyond the arc during the 2012-13 season. Adding the 6-foot-8 forward will hurt the Sixers three-point percentage.
2. LeBron James NBA 2k19 cover
Yes, the fact that the three-time NBA champion will be on the 2019 cover is a reason why the Sixers should withdraw from the James sweepstakes. Now I am not superstitious but being on the NBA 2k cover has resulted in injury for a lot of active players. Let’s take a look at the past few NBA 2k cover features:
2k18: Kyrie Irving (Knee injury)
2k17: Paul George (Leg injury)
2k16: Steph Curry (Knee injury)| James Harden (N/A)| Anthony Davis (Torn Labrum)
2k15: Kevin Durrant (Foot injury)
Obviously, LBJ has not suffered any season-ending injuries but the 2k cover is undefeated against active players. If Sixers management can get James to commit he will most likely ask for a max contract. (Rightfully so) Philadelphia may want to test out other options before going all in.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 5, 2018
3. Trusting the process long-term
Ultimately, the city of Philadelphia would love to land the best player in the world this summer. But what does that mean for the supporting cast? This summer the team will have seven free agents. Out of the seven free agents, the Sixers need to re-sign JJ Redick and Marco Belinelli. Ersan Ilyasova is also a free agent the team should re-sign, however, it might not be possible due to cap space. Assuming that Philly signs James the team will be strapped financially. Currently, the team has Embiid signed on a max deal. Adding LBJ will cause future doubt for Simmons who will probably be a long time Sixer.
Signing the 2003 first overall pick will cause the Sixers to look and operate like the Miami Heat teams that featured James, Dwyane Wade, and Chirs Bosh. After reading this you may say well adding James with Simmons and Ebmiid will give Philly a superteam. All things considered, the 76ers will not be a super team until their 6-foot-10 point/forward is able to shoot efficiently from the floor. Yes, King James did not have a shot coming into the league, however, his mid-range game was much more sufficient than Simmons.
4. Twitter finger scandal
Finally, we can’t forget that the firing of general manager Bryan Colangelo will hurt Philadelphia’s chances of signing the King this summer. Although Sixers ownership did the right thing by parting ways with the GM their will be a lack of trust from outsiders looking in. James has always been a private person and the fact that he is already dealing with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert is enough. Philadelphia still has a chance to sign the former Heat star but there are some things the franchise should consider this summer.
— Sixers Nation (@PHLSixersNation) April 16, 2018
Bold statement: The 76ers should not sign LBJ.
Do you think the Sixers should withdraw from the James sweepstakes?
All stats for this article are from stats.nba.com.
Featured photo; Battle Domination via Flickr.