I’m Beginning to Feel Lukewarm on LeBron to Philly

Photo credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

I haven’t written much about NBA free agency, mainly because I think it just devolves into a nothingness of theoretical trades and overreaction to every Woj bomb. Will LeBron James opt out? Was Kawhi’s agent seen at Wawa? Did Paul George tour Methacton High School? A friend of a friend who knows a guy in Hammonton says blah blah BLAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

But the more I think about it, the less interest I have in LeBron coming to Philly. It’s not for basketball reasons though, and I find it strange that Brian Windhorst seems to think he wouldn’t be a “match” for the Sixers:

He wouldn’t see the “basketball match” for LeBron in Philadelphia? Is he blind? James can play with anybody on any team, and he can especially play on an up-tempo, pass-happy club featuring the reigning Rookie of the Year and a 24-year-old center who can stretch and shoot and sling it out of the post when he wants to. If anything, I’d think LeBron would enjoying playing in more of an off-ball role, instead of handling the rock almost exclusively in a slower point-forward setup surrounded by the likes of Kevin Love, George Hill, and Kyle Korver. Watching LeBron run the floor with Ben Simmons and company would be phenomenal, and the defensive pressure would be taken off of him by the likes of Robert Covington and Joel Embiid, one guy who finished second in the DPOY race and another who got votes.

Maybe the family thing is the issue with Philly, for sure. There are no ties to the region, not like Cleveland. And sunny southern California is an easier sell than cold and crappy Philadelphia, so I could understand if the fam wasn’t too excited to come here. Those things matter more to LeBron now than they did 10 years ago, I would assume.

Thing is, my issue with LeBron coming to Philly is that it sort of shortens the window of expectations. LeBron is 33, and he would be coming here presumably on a 1+1 deal, so instead of evolving through the post-process era into something tangible and steady, you’re basically abandoning that to go all-out for an NBA title. Question is, does LeBron/Simmons/Embiid/whoever else beat the Warriors? I honestly don’t think it does. You might say the better strategy would be to let the Dubs lapse and allow the cyclical nature of the NBA to bring another team to the forefront, then take your shot. The risk there, of course, would be fan impatience and the perceived wasting of Embiid and Simmons’ early twenties. Will they be the same players 2 or 3 years from now? Nobody can say for sure.

So I think I’m with Spike Eskin on that front, the idea that the addition of LeBron creates a “win now” culture that lends itself to risky auxiliary moves that defer to James and the immediate future without necessarily considering what happens if he jumps ship after the Sixers burn out in 7 games vs the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals. If LeBron doesn’t like playing with Dario Saric and asks for you to trade him for some schlub instead, do you do it? Then, when LeBron leaves and you’re stuck with the schlub, how do you proceed? Cleveland is looking at that scenario as we speak.

In my mind, it’s up to you, the fan, to determine what you want here. LeBron James gives you the best chance of success, puts the team in the national spotlight, and creates a whole hell of a lot of excitement at the Wells Fargo Center. But you’re also living under the constant spectre of “win now, or else,” with LeBron always a threat to walk away, a guy with a rapidly decreasing NBA life span as he gets set to turn 34 in December. Theoretically, would one title with LeBron be worth the ride if the Sixers then turned to shit like Ruben Amaro Jr.’s Phillies?

Or, do you trust in Markelle Fultz to turn it around? Does Zhaire Smith become a player? Does JJ Redick come back on 3 years at 15 million per and continue to play at a high level on a more experienced starting squad that still features Dario Saric and Robert Covington?

I’m somewhere in the middle. I don’t know if just adding LeBron beats the Warriors next year. Adding Kawhi AND LeBron does, but I don’t see that happening, do you? You’re sort of in this purgatory where you know that the modern day NBA is about assembling super teams and going for broke, but you don’t want to take the plunge until the time is absolutely right. Is the time right for the Sixers? Or do we tell Goldilocks to just fucking relax until the porridge is ready?

I guess what I’m saying is that if the Sixers totally whiff this summer, that I wouldn’t be too worried about it. You’re still returning an excellent young core, a duo that could turn into a trio depending on what Drew Hanlen does with Markelle Fultz. Then you take a look at 2019 free agents, keep an eye on somebody like Kemba Walker or one of the interesting RFAs and see where you’re at with your existing roster.

Time’s yours.

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20 Comments

  • ron burgundy June 29, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    Great story. Compelling, and rich.

  • Johnny Nas June 29, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    F Lebron…Let our team grow and build with what we have….unless we are ok with losing in the finals….Im not

  • Treblinka Tommy June 29, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    I don’t think I care anymore.

  • Andy Schreiber June 29, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    This Sixers team won 52 games without Lebron, and almost no contribution from their #1 pick (Fultz). They narrowly lost a short series to the Celtics because they didn’t have a finisher.

    Lebron is a finisher. Bring him here (even without Kawhi) and this team wins 60-65 games, cruises to the Finals, and has a real shot to beat Golden State.

    Lebron’s window to win titles is starting to close. If he goes to LA he has zero chance of winning rings in the next 2 years. He’s not going to Boston (to play with Kyrie?). He’s not staying in Cleveland. Maybe Houston? OKC? ( I kid.)

    He’s coming to Philly. Easiest decision he’ll ever make.

    #TrustTheProcess #HereTheyCome #ClapYourHandsEverybody

    • 4 for 4 guy (the meat locker is my church) June 29, 2018 at 1:49 pm

      Yo Andy –

      Are you a cuz fan ?

    • LIZ ROSCHER June 29, 2018 at 2:02 pm

      Thanks for the novel, bro.

      • Another Dinosaur June 29, 2018 at 4:46 pm

        Yeah, article written on a device using old-fashioned fossil fuel as a power source. How 1990s.

    • Slick Willie's Wet Cigar June 29, 2018 at 3:05 pm

      You should try brown nosing and ass kissing ‘Lebron’ a little more
      if you want him to come.

    • Bob c00ney June 29, 2018 at 3:19 pm

      Hi Andy,

      This 2019 Ram Truck that I’ve been talking about on air. Best truck there is. Go check one out as soon as you can. You’ll love it. Thanks Andy

  • Soul Glow June 29, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    I changed my mind.
    I’m beginning to feel a little bit warmer – like a bowl of nice yellow piss

  • Really? June 29, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    Cold and crappy philly? Way to have that winning attitude.. god this site sucks ever since kyle got investors.

    • Kevin Kinkead June 29, 2018 at 2:02 pm

      is this comment serious

    • Meek Mill - Convicted Phelon and Wigger Hero June 29, 2018 at 2:13 pm

      I wonder if that scruffy real estate guy or that gastropub are investors?
      I’ll invest as soon as i get out of prison.

  • Soul Glow June 29, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    Hey kinker…
    Why did you reuse that picture of that wigger holding up that Lebron sign?
    That’s just a cheap move.

    • Kevin Kinkead June 29, 2018 at 3:30 pm

      you shut your mouth when you speak to me

      • Your mouth is so furry... June 29, 2018 at 3:52 pm

        …I thought it was a straight up 80s muff. Almost whipped out a condom and f*#ked that thing

        • Its a Sickness June 29, 2018 at 4:07 pm

          That was the comb over from his rug that you were banging.

  • Realist June 29, 2018 at 5:02 pm

    I’ve never really understood the “win now “argument that Spike made and that you seem to be somewhat supporting here as well? What’s so bad about that and why does it mean that we have to trade Saric just because LeBron comes here? It’s not an all or nothing thing like that. We joke about LeBron being the GM or whatever, but he’s not literally a GM. If you sit in a free agent meeting and he says “I’ll sign here, but you have to trade Fultz and Saric for Kevin Love and JR Smith,” you just tell him thanks but no thanks. If he asks for you to trade Saric mid-season, tell him tough shit. What’s he going to do? He’s under contract. Unlike the Lakers or the Cavs who literally have nothing else besides LeBron, that’s not the case with us. We don’t have to cater to his every need.

    LeBron is a free agent. You don’t have to give up any assets other than cap space to get him. If you think the current core is good enough to win a title on its own, then great. Let’s sign LeBron for 2 years, win 2 titles, and then once he’s done, the current core can win a bunch on their own. I don’t get how anyone is opposed to this.

    • Spike Can't Come to The Phone Right now...he's busy washing his hair June 29, 2018 at 5:40 pm

      Spike wants to win now because his has a life ending disease.
      Its called “I’m a fucking runt and one day my bad karma will get me pounded in the ground….”.

  • SH June 30, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    Who’s the 6ers GM again?

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