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Sixers Fans, Admit It: You'd Take LeBron James


I’m just going to get this out in the open right now: Any Sixers fan who wouldn’t want to entertain the possibility of LeBron James coming to their team needs to seriously reevaluate why they watch the game of basketball.Photo: Uniformcritics.com


Unquestionably, James has become one of the greatest players in the history of the game. Not the best, mind you, but at this stage, whether you like him or not, it’s hard to leave him out of the top 10. All he needed that the other greats of the game had (Jordan, Chamberlain, Russell, Magic, Bird) that he lacked was a true legacy-defining moment, and bringing the Cleveland Cavaliers back from a 3-1 deficit against a 73-win Golden State Warriors team in last year’s NBA Finals solved that.


No matter what he does in Cleveland from this point on, James returned home and did what he set out to do.


And chances are, he’s going to leave his home state again before his career ends—and a stop through Philadelphia might not be as much of a pipe dream as you would think.


LeBron James is not a stranger to controversy. The bad PR began for him during the summer of 2010, when James’ decision to air “The Decision” on national television became the ultimate slap in the face to fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Although he accomplished his goal of winning a championship with the Miami Heat (two, actually), his status as an NBA villain was cemented, and it’s never been an image he’s completely shed, despite returning to Cleveland and leading them to three straight finals in as many years and winning that elusive championship for the city.


However, it seems there’s once again trouble in paradise. While James fully expected the Cavaliers’ front office to makes the necessary moves that would put them in the same ranks with their NBA Finals counterpart, team owner Dan Gilbert decided to not bring back GM David Griffin and VP of basketball operations Trent Redden when Cleveland seemed to be on the verge of acquiring then-Bulls All-Star Jeremy Butler, who ultimately went to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Moreover, Cleveland also missed out on bringing in Chauncey Billups to run their front office.


How much better are the Cavaliers now then they were when they lost to Golden State last month? They’re basically the same team, but their front office is in shambles. As of Thursday, they were in talks to sign former MVP Derrick Rose, but will that be enough? He's not the player he once was.The upcoming season will be James’ 15th in the NBA. He clearly wants another shot at a championship. Chances are it probably won’t happen in Cleveland.


Here is where the Sixers could possibly enter the picture.


It’s no secret that James has a friendship with Sixers’ rookie Ben Simmons, who shares his agent, Rich Paul. The two were recently working out together, and James’ apparent frustration with Cleveland did not go unnoticed by Simmons on Twitter.


You can look into that tweet all you want. It could be a PR ploy, or a simple tweet and that’s it. But don’t think James doesn’t have his finger on the pulse of the Sixers (through Simmons) and the buzz surrounding the team. Before we get carried away, a lot can happen in a year and nobody should get carried away. First and foremost, the team has to improve and remain healthy. Simmons has to actually play an NBA game, Joel Embiid has to play more than 31 of them, number one draft pick Markelle Fultz has to show promise, and Dario Saric and Robert Covington have to duplicate last season’s success.


In other words, much has to go right (and it often doesn’t), but if things do go right (we are due), and James, despite being on the downside of his career, even entertains the thought of signing with the Sixers, it’s a no-brainer. You do the deal. Salary cap room is not an issue for the Sixers. Maybe you win a title, maybe you won’t, the Warriors aren't going anywhere and other teams throughout the league have improved—but nobody will ever go on record saying your basketball team is better off without LeBron James on it.  


Let’s get real here, Sixers fans. This team hasn’t won a title since the summer before I entered Kindergarten (that’s 1983 if you’re keeping score at home). You can almost divide that number by two, and that’s almost how long it’s been since they played in the NBA Finals. For all of you complaining that it ruins “The Process,” you personally don’t like LeBron, they’re no longer a homegrown roster like the 1970s Flyers and the 1980/2008 Phillies, stop your nonsense. Nobody complained when the Phillies got Cliff Lee in 2009 after winning the World Series the previous year. Roy Halladay, anybody? What about Terrell Owens in 2004, Eagles fans?


Dr. J wasn’t drafted by the Sixers. Neither was Bobby Jones or Moses Malone, the 1982 NBA MVP who the Sixers acquired to help Doc finally take the team to the promised land. Mission accomplished. Admit it: Many of you still walk around Philly with pride saying “Fo, Fo, Fo” whenever you think of that team. Little Mo, Big Mo, The Doctor, Andrew Toney, and Iavaroni. In layman’s terms, the title-winning 1980s version of the “Feds” if you will.



I’m just going to leave this little nugget here before I go. The city of Boston has won 10 championships in the last two decades. Philadelphia has won six professional titles in 50 years.  


Still don’t want LeBron James in Philadelphia if it could happen?


Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com


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Photo: Uniformcritics.com