The Future of LeBron James

by Marc Narducci | Jun 7, 2024
The Future of LeBron James
The 76ers are going to be the NBA’s most interesting team this offseason. No team has as much salary cap room as the Sixers. According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, the Sixers have nearly $60 million in cap space and five tradable first round picks. 

So, the Sixers have the ability to go big-star hunting either through free agency or a trade. For a team in a win-now mode, the biggest name to pursue would be LeBron James.

James has a $51.4 million player option according to Hoopshype.com. If he opts out, he could sign with the Sixers as a free agent.

Now let’s put the brakes on this for a moment.

James is expected to re-sign with the Los Angeles Lakers. He has many business interests in Los Angeles and reportedly enjoys living there.

However, if his goal is to add to his collection of four NBA championships, the best route might be the Sixers. 

James, who turns 40 on Dec. 30, is still at the top of his game, although his durability has taken a big hit with age. 

This past season he was a third-team All-NBA selection. Teammate Anthony Davis was a second-team choice.

Even with two of the top 15 players, the Lakers (47-35) finished just eighth in the loaded Western Conference. After winning a play-in game against New Orleans, the Lakers lost in five games to the Denver Nuggets in the first round a year after being swept by the Nuggets in the Western Conference finals last year.

The Lakers are reportedly again looking for a third star to pair with James and Davis, but should they really trust GM Rob Pelinka?

James has been with the Lakers for six seasons. They won the NBA title in the COVID 2019-2020 season and made it to the Western Conference finals last year. 

In the four other years, they missed the postseason twice, and were eliminated in the first round two other times. In his six years, he has played for three head coaches, with a fourth ready to be hired.

This minimal success was with James and Davis together for five years. 

Good luck dealing with teams such as Dallas, Minnesota, Denver and a young Oklahoma City Thunder team in the West.

Now it would be no picnic in the East, if James came to the Sixers, especially with Boston looking like a serious title contender for the next few years at least. 

Still, it isn’t as daunting as the West.

Plus, the Sixers with James, Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey, would have one of, if not the best trio of stars in the NBA.

James can still be a dominant player, but wouldn’t have to be every night with the Sixers, the way he has to with the Lakers. 

Plus, the Sixers would be able to withstand games in which James is sidelined better than the Lakers.

During the last three years, James has missed 64 games. Plus, with the Lakers, he had to play more minutes in the postseason than somebody his age should.

This past year he averaged 40.5 minutes in the five-game loss to Denver. He was still highly productive, averaging 27.8 points, 8.8 assists and 6.8 rebounds against the Nuggets.

He might have been better, playing fewer minutes, something he could do with the Sixers. 

There is also the case of James wanting to play with his son Bronny, who has declared for the NBA draft. 

LeBron has since said that isn’t the No. 1 priority, but it will be interesting if teams draft Bronny in an attempt to recruit LeBron.

Bronny did a great job coming back after suffering cardiac arrest last July, but even though he returned to the court, he had a below average freshman season at USC.

He averaged 4.8 points and shot 26.7% from three-point range in 19.4 minutes per game.

At the NBA combine he measured 6-foot-1 without shoes, but had a 6-7 ¼ wingspan and 40.5 vertical leap. He has received high praise for his defense

Still, does this look like somebody ready for the NBA?

Yet there is no doubt that somebody will draft him, the only question is how high.

The Sixers own the No. 16 pick in the first round and the Lakers own No. 17.

It will be interesting if anybody in the first round decides to select him. Keep in mind, a team might like Bronny’s long-term potential, and may select him without intending to recruit his dad, although most NBA observers will connect his selection wanting to pair him with his father. 

The Sixers also have the 41st pick in the second round, while the Lakers have the 55th selection. 

Again, the Lakers are the favorite to re-sign LeBron, but don’t be surprised if the Sixers make an all-out effort to attempt to recruit him to Philadelphia. 

For a team that was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, bringing James to Philadelphia would not only bring needed excitement, but a player who could help them seriously contend in the Eastern Conference. 

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Author: Marc Narducci

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