Free agency started off surprisingly on Saturday night as Paul George opted to re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder without taking any meetings.
Meanwhile, it’s still unclear what decision LeBron James will make. The star forward arrived in Los Angeles, where he has two offseason homes, earlier on Saturday. He is expected to be choosing between the incumbent Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers with reports indicating that the Lakers have the inside track on signing him.
Nevertheless, there is potential for a surprising decision to be made and LeBron’s other suitors will not go away quietly. Perhaps the only other challenger to the Cavs and Lakers, the Philadelphia 76ers will meet with LeBron’s camp and agent Rich Paul in Los Angeles on Sunday, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
A high-level Philadelphia 76ers contingent is meeting with LeBron James’ agent, Rich Paul, on Sunday in Los Angeles, league sources told ESPN.
James isn’t expected to attend the meeting, which is the first significant chance for the 76ers to make case a free-agent case to James, league sources said. Ownership and possibly interim president of basketball operations/coach Brett Brown are expected to lead the meeting with James’ representatives, sources said.
James has made it clear he is not interested in attending elaborate pitch meetings this summer so it is no surprise he will not be at the meeting. Nevertheless, it is a big win for the 76ers to get his agent into a room so they can recruit the star.
Philadelphia would have to make some tough roster decisions in order to fit James’ max salary under the cap space.
It is expected that the Lakers’ chances of luring James were damaged by George’s immediate decision. However, some reports have indicated that LeBron would be willing to make the move to Los Angeles without assurances that there will be another star. The Lakers have expressed interest in signing Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins and trading for San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard in hopes of adding a star teammate for James.
LeBron’s decision to hold a meeting with the 76ers, albeit without him there, could be an indicator that he is still hesitant on both the Lakers and Cavaliers. It could also be a leverage ploy aimed at forcing the Lakers to make a move that would put them over the top.