LeBron James will have a decision to make once the 2017-18 NBA season is over. Does he stay home in Cleveland and remain a member of the Cavaliers or does he leave again? If he does leave, the team most have assumed he’d be headed to is the Los Angeles Lakers. Even before they cleared a boatload of cap space at the trade deadline (with a trade with Cleveland no less,) the Lakers were considered a front-runner to land James in the summer of 2018. James has two massive houses in L.A. and a desire to get into the entertainment business – two things that have factored into rumors about his eventual signing with the Lakers.
Don’t tell that to Power Home Remodeling, though. The Chester, Pennsylvania-based company recently threw some money down for three billboards along I-480 outside of Cleveland that are aimed specifically at trying to draw James to Philadelphia. The timing is fantastic as the 76ers roll into Cleveland on Thursday to play the Cavs in a nationally televised game.
The first billboard is a diagram of one end of the basketball court that features James’ number 23 in red alongside the numbers of current Sixers’ Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Dario Saric and Robert Covington. The next billboard simply says “Complete the Process,” while the third says “#PHILLYWANTSLEBRON.”
According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, the billboards aren’t considered tampering because the 76ers were not involved with putting them up.
“We’re passionate about Philadelphia,” said Asher Raphael, Power Home Remodeling’s co-CEO. “We have an amazing city, it’s the best sports town and it’s an awesome place to live. We think the best athletes should want to play here. LeBron is in the conversation of being the best player of all time. We think if he comes to Philly, he gets a couple more championships.”
Championships would have to be assumed to be a major part of James’ decision as to where he plays next and Philadelphia does look appealing, especially given the emergence of Simmons and Embiid. Embiid was an all-star this year, while Simmons most likely should have been. The 76ers are currently in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 32-26, but as is the case throughout the past handful of years, when it comes the 76ers, it’s all about looking forward, respecting “the process.”
“The Process” in Philadelphia is in reference to the plan put in place for the franchise starting back in 2013 when the team was purchased by a new ownership group. Under the guidance of General Manager Sam Hinkie, the team jettisoned players at a breakneck pace, electing to go with draft picks and unproven players in an effort to rebuild.
Hinkie’s tenure with the team ended in April 2016 as the team was wrapping up another losing season. But Hinkie’s blueprint remained and in the next two drafts the Sixers picked Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz. So while their current record isn’t all that exciting, it’s A) better than it has been in recent years and B) only part of the 76ers’ story.
Of course, you would have to ask: is it possible for Philly to afford LeBron?
The Sixers actually do have the cap space to bring James aboard and could bring one of his friends along with him (i.e. Paul George, who is another player rumored to be headed to the Lakers this summer.) So it’s possible.
In his latest column, Bill Simmons of The Ringer highlighted Philadelphia as a possible destination for James, saying it would fit James’ perceived love of narratives.
“In 2018, LeBron James signed with Philadelphia to build one last mini-dynasty with Embiid and Simmons. He vowed to play seven more years, until he turned 40, and vowed to make it his last stop. Just as important, he wanted to be closer to New York City and to his goal of becoming the first active billionaire athlete, with an eye on building his business empire and eventually owning an NBA franchise.”
The counter to this wonderful narrative is the cruel reality of the fragility of Embiid. Embiid, while immensely talented and full of potential, has already missed 75 percent of his career because of injury. Ben Simmons has missed significant time as well, while Fultz is currently working on coming back from an injury.
Philly is talented, but not without risks. If you’re LeBron James, you’re in the back nine of your career and looking for a few more rings to cement your legacy and possibly surpass Michael Jordan as the best player ever. Do you risk all that by banking of a team like the Sixers that is so much of a gamble?
At this point it’s anyone’s guess.
But in the meantime, if you’re a Cavs’ fan heading into Cleveland of I-480, you’d probably rather see one of the Kars 4 Kids ads than what you’re seeing today.
Source: Heavy Sports