By Dan Knerr, Sports Talk Philly staff
LeBron James has made it official, he will be opting out of his $35.4 million contract to play for the Cavaliers during the 2018-2019 season. This is the news we've all been expecting, yet it certainly does not mean that he won't be returning to the Cavs next season. He will simply be doing what he has done two other times in his career, and that is testing the waters of free agency.
The heavy favorites to land James have been the Lakers, Cavaliers, 76ers, Rockets, and Celtics since the season ended. Although Sixers fans have held out hope that they could land the coveted James, as of late it is beginning to seem like those chances are dwindling.
In a report by Brian Windhorst, he claims that LeBron has narrowed his choices down to two options: The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Los Angeles Lakers. He is said to be aiming to come to an early resolution with his camp by July 2nd.
Windhorst says LeBron and his inner circle have convened in the Caribbean to discuss where he will take his talents next. This is being dubbed as 'The Decision Cave'.
Before completely losing hope on winning out on the LeBron sweepstakes, it is important to remember what he said during the season about the impending free agency. He insisted that the only reliable information that should be trusted are things that he said himself, not something leaked to a reporter, no matter how close the personal connection might be. This gives hope that the Sixers will be able to pull off the miraculous acquisition.
Another glimpse of hope would be if the Sixers could put together a blockbuster trade to bring Kawhi Leonard to Philly. Many have speculated that whoever lands Leonard would be positioned to land James as well. A Sixers package to acquire the small forward would likely include a package of Dario Saric, Robert Covington, and a first-round pick, possibly the one they acquired on draft night from the Heat in 2021.
Even if Leonard says he ultimately wants to be in LA, a big market team like the Sixers might convince him to stick around after next season, especially if LeBron comes with him. If these two were to join the Sixers, they certainly are the favorites in the East as far as I'm concerned.
It is sure to be an exciting free-agency period, and it will be entertaining to see who the 76er's might land. Although the odds of landing LeBron look bleak at the moment, fans can still hold out hope that he'll choose to trust the process and come to the great city of Philadelphia.