July 01, 2018
It's. All. Happening.
But also, maybe not.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Philadelphia 76ers are preparing to meet with the NBA's top free agent on the market, LeBron James, who opted out of his contract in Cleveland late last week, and his team of representatives on Sunday to make their pitch.
Philadelphia is meeting with LeBron James and his reps today in Los Angeles, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 1, 2018
Woj on ESPN: "This is a chance for them (#Sixers) to get in front of him and sell a vision for LeBron James in Philadelphia."— Zack Rosenblatt (@ZackBlatt) July 1, 2018
Following discussions with team and league sources, PhillyVoice was able to learn and/or confirm several details about the meeting first reported on by Wojnarowski.
As Wojnarowski first reported for ESPN, Brett Brown will be the voice leading discussions for the Sixers in the meeting with agent Rich Paul. He will be joined by other senior officials, including the Sixers ownership group, which should be taken as a sign of how serious this meeting is from Philadelphia's perspective.
Though the public view had seen the odds tilt in favor of the Los Angeles Lakers over the last couple weeks, the Sixers have remained steadfast in their optimism about selling James on their organization and their vision. The Lakers have more present-day cap space to make moves, but the Sixers believe their combination of more "ready" young talent and flexibility to make further moves will aid them in the hunt for James.
Reports have circulated in recent weeks that there are concerns about James fitting alongside Embiid on multiple levels, but Sixers officials have shot down such claims privately. The Sixers have long been optimistic about the relationship between Simmons and James in particular, but in recent weeks team representatives have expressed additional optimism to PhillyVoice about James' respect for Embiid and Simmons on and off the court. If James doesn't come to Philadelphia, the Sixers do not believe it would be because of any concerns about their on-court future.
So how exactly were the Sixers able to pull off this last-minute pitch meeting? That's a question yet to be answered. Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid were in Los Angeles recently, but Simmons was in Australia as recently as this morning in connection to a family matter. Regardless, the Sixers do not feel deterred by the meeting only involving James' representatives and believe they are in a strong position as James continues to deliberate.
Obviously, stay tuned for any updates.
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