NBA Free Agency: Sixers’ quest to sign LeBron James, what Philly fans really want
It's often assumed that if LeBron James wants to play for your team, fans will welcome him with open arms. Is that the case for Sixers fans? We decided to ask.
When Brett Brown took to the podium on draft night, as the head coach but now also interim general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers, he uttered the phrase "Star hunting." We've arrived at the start of the chase.
While Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are superstars in their own right, LeBron James is The King for a reason. Despite his advanced age – that's relative, of course – the NBA universe still revolves around him.
It's pretty much assumed that if James wants to play for your team, you'd welcome him with open arms. But you know what they say about assuming. So we decided to ask our audience: Do you really want James to sign with the Sixers?
Here's what you had to say.
“Who doesn’t want the best player in the world?”
Arguments for ‘Yes’
Here is a collection of the reasons why Sixers fans leaned toward bringing James to Philadelphia:
"I definitely want LeBron. It gives Simmons a chance to play off the ball and takes pressure off the young guy." – Doug Neff
"Who doesn't want the best player in the world on their team? It's foolish to think he doesn't make them automatic contenders for the championship." – Harry Ulmer
"Any team's fans in the NBA right now, no matter who they are, if LeBron is even slightly interested in coming to their team, they should want him. He is the greatest basketball player on earth and he is showing no signs of slowing down." – Jonathan Coffman
"When you have a chance to sign the best player in the world, you do it. Especially when the best player in the world is a high character guy like LeBron." – Kevin Condit
"I'd love to see James in a Sixers uniform. Who wouldn't want to see an all-time great play for their favorite team? He would teach Ben and Joel how to be leaders. He helps this franchise short team and long term. It should be a no brainer." – Dan McGuckin
While the majority of respondents leaned toward The King holding court in Philly, not everyone is on board. The naysayers weren't shy about sharing their take, either.
Arguments for ‘No’
Here's some of the reasons you told us signing LeBron James would not be a good idea for the Sixers:
"Trust the Process is about building a team that can sustain competitiveness for a decade or more. While King James would help us get a championship quickly, it'd hurt the team two years from now when he'd leave and we'd have traded away or released the process players we were developing." – Jordan Kimberg
"After LeBron leaves a team, they crumble. Look at the Cavs when he went to the Heat. Look at the Heat when he went back to the Cavs. This team just started doing great again and I would like it to last longer than the 1-2 years that LeBron will sign for." – Travis Wilmore
>> Read more: NBA trade rumors live updates
"I'd rather beat the team that LeBron is on. We're good." – Kevin Lang
"He is ball dominant and thrives when he is surrounded by shooters. That relegates Simmons to essentially a bench roll since he can't shoot. The fast breaks would be great, but once you get into a playoff scenario, that weakness will be exploited. He also leaves teams in shambles when he leaves, which he will. He'll hold the team hostage on one-year deals and throw hissy fits when things don't go his way. Hard pass." – Bill Hunter.
What about Kawhi Leonard and Paul George?
It's easy to lose yourself in the LeBron Sweepstakes. We've been through this before and it's always an entertaining show. But adding a piece like Leonard or George, alone, would give the Sixers a level of star power the franchise hasn't had in a long time. While James might top most wish lists, we had to wonder if he tops them all.
So we asked our Twitter audience which scenario interests fans the most. Do you want one of the top names on the market, or would you like to stay away from all three?
Leonard and George each carry pockets of the Sixers' fan base. George is an all-star caliber wing player who can eat up minutes as a shooting guard and small forward. He also boasts a strong defensive game which could vault the Sixers even higher up the ladder of upper echelon defensive units.
The disgruntled Spur is coming off a season where he barely played while battling injury and perhaps some bruised egos in San Antonio. A split seems imminent but Leonard includes a lot of uncertainty. He could be a free agent after next season and trading for him could mean having to convince him not to go to his reported first choice, the Lakers, in 2019.
Our readers indicated they'd rather see the Sixers keep the band together for another season before acquiring just Leonard or George.