We are less than two days away from the start of NBA free agency and rumors on signings and potential trades are growing hot and heavy.
In yesterday’s piece from Sports Illustrated’s Jake Fischer (who wrote for this website once upon a time, so you know we can trust him), he reported that the Sixers are, in fact, putting together a serious trade offer to go after San Antonio star Kawhi Leonard. Per SI:
One team source says preliminary discussions with San Antonio revealed the Spurs have strong interest in a package involving burgeoning forwards Dario Saric and Robert Covington as well as a future first-round pick. A potential, more serious offer that Philadelphia is weighing internally includes Saric and Covington and the 2021 Miami Heat unprotected first-round pick the Sixers obtained in their draft-night deal with the Phoenix Suns.
The problem with a Kawhi deal is Philadelphia has to operate under two separate assumptions simultaneously. Under one, Kawhi stays long-term in Philadelphia, in which case, the above proposal would be a steal for the Sixers. However, under the other, Kawhi stays one year and leaves for Los Angeles, and the Sixers drastically overpaid for a rental. The Lakers appear to be in a situation to offer more than Philadelphia, simply because they do not have to weigh the “Kawhi leaves after a year” scenario in their decision-making.
In other offseason news, the first part of Paul George’s free agency documentary aired on SportsCenter last night. George spent a significant amount of time waxed poetic about the appear of going home to Los Angeles.
Paul George: "I love LA. This is home. I grew up watching Kobe. When I first fell in love with the game, when I'm outside playing, I wasn't picturing myself in an IND jersey or OKC jersey; I pictured myself in a Lakers jersey. Everyone in the league will say they wanna go home."— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 29, 2018
Even when he mentioned other teams, the Sixers were not on the forefront of George’s mind.
During Paul George's SportsCenter documentary, PG talked to Dwyane Wade. George was naming the benefits of picking the Lakers and the Thunder. Then, he added, "There are other places too. Boston, the Clippers..." but Wade cut him off. Interesting that he mentioned BOS and LAC.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 29, 2018
For those folks pining for George, a seemingly perfect fit as a complementary star alongside Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, I think you need to come to terms with the fact that it isn’t going to happen.
In addition to signing Paul George being a ghost of a pipe dream at this point, online bookmakers have LeBron James heading to the Lakers as a heavy favorite. If the Sixers are going to land a big fish this offseason, it increasingly looks like it will have to be Kawhi Leonard. Brett Brown and the rest of the interim brain trust will have to both perfectly gauge the market for Kawhi and glean his long-term intentions. Sixers fans may have to resign themselves to the possibility that an earth-shattering move isn’t coming this summer.