No one knows where LeBron James will sign this summer (including LeBron, probably). Maybe he'll end up with one of the three teams that keep popping up in rumors: the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, and Philadelphia 76ers. Maybe he'll stick around Cleveland. Or perhaps he'll go rogue and end up somewhere else. Anyone who tells you they know what he's thinking is lying.
One of those destinations, Philadelphia, seems to be gaining appeal by the day. The 76ers' young core of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons is further along than anyone expected, and the Sixers' title window appears to be expanding.
Marc Stein of the New York Times, former ESPN reporter, is as plugged in as any NBA reporter. In his newsletter, he writes that there are "whispers" the 76ers are gaining confidence they could lure LBJ to the City of Brotherly Love.
"The Cavaliers suddenly look so rickety again that I now fully understand why whispers about the Philadelphia 76ers and their growing behind-the-scenes confidence that they can woo LeBron to Philly this summer are getting louder," Stein writes.
He did distribute this newsletter before Cleveland went up 3-2 with a last-second win over Indiana Wednesday night, but that likely has not changed his stance.
"If title contention is what matters to King James—and my sense is that nothing except family considerations matters more to LeBron than playing somewhere he will be in immediate and constant contention for rings—Cleveland is no longer the place," Stein writes. "The Cavaliers just don't have the look of a reliable contender with that porous defense and limited supporting cast, nor do they have the financial flexibility to make the moves needed to get better-fitting pieces around James to get back to that level."
The argument for Philly is not just that the Sixers have a promising young roster and a solid coach, but that they play in the East, which presents a much easier road to the NBA Finals. The Cavs can close out Indiana Friday, with the game set for 8 p.m. EST.