LeBron to Philly didn’t happen. The truth is, he wanted to live in LA. It doesn’t matter that the Sixers have a better team, and one of the most passionate fan bases in the league, and a great history. It doesn’t matter that Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are the most exciting duo in the East. None of that mattered. LeBron wanted to go Hollywood. I guess his wife and kids wanted to be at the beach. That’s really all that mattered here.
All of that is fine. LeBron would have short-term made the Sixers the favorites in the East. The long-term outlook still rides on the development of their young core. If you don’t think Joel Embiid will improve as a presence on the glass, forget it. If you don’t think Ben Simmons will learn to shoot, forget it. If you think Markelle Fultz is a bust, the first two better happen. The Sixers are very young, and should improve. If not? Then signing LeBron wouldn’t have mattered.
The Sixers enter next season really only behind Boston in the Eastern Conference’s elite. They won 52 games and a playoff series in what amounted to the first full season for Joel Embiid, and the actual rookie season for Ben Simmons. They should only get better. You could put the team on auto-pilot right now and predict them to lose the Conference Finals to Boston- which really isn’t that bad this early in their championship window. I obviously don’t believe that’s what will happen, I expect moves to come. They’re in contention to win the conference and they’re going to try to do that.
I’ve pretty much soured on trading for Kawhi Leonard though at this point, and not because I don’t think he’s great (he’s top five in the game for sure). Getting Kawhi on a one year rental, when he seems intent on getting to LA, when the team would only be a coin flip to win the East then, and a huge underdog against Golden State still, seems like it might not be enough of a reason to trade the likes of Dario Saric, Robert Covington, Markelle Fultz, and multiple picks. Yes, if he left the Sixers would have close to $50 million in cap space to use, and could recover, but it would still be quite a hit, for the potential of marginally better results. The Sixers may do just as well with what they have.
LeBron will languish in the West with the headache of Lonzo Ball, the expectations of an impatient fan base, and the inability to beat Golden State. At this point, we probably won’t ever see him in an NBA Final again, so it’s time we just forget about him. The path forward for the Sixers to become a championship contender is right in front of them. Look for opportunities to bring in a star to grow with the young core, and develop the young core. Add pieces that make sense.
Basically, Trust The Process.