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LeBron on 76ers billboards: ‘It’s dope’

Cleveland Cavaliers v Philadelphia 76ers

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 27: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives to the basket against T.J. McConnell #1 of the Philadelphia 76ers in the fourth quarter at Wells Fargo Center on November 27, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Cavaliers defeated the 76ers 112-108. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

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A Philadelphia-area company paid for billboards in Cleveland that urge LeBron James to join the 76ers

Tom Withers of the Associated Press:

That is not the response I expected.

The billboards are flattering. It’s always nice to be wanted, and LeBron will be highly coveted this summer.

But this response will only fuel LeBron-to-Philadelphia rumors.

I believe many of the rumors about LeBron joining other teams come from his camp and are designed to pressure to the Cavaliers, specifically owner Dan Gilbert. For a while, that meant trading and spending to upgrade the roster (which the Cavs did). Now, it could be about securing the best-possible contract terms. Or it could just be about the vague notion of power.

Still, LeBron being so directly enthusiastic about another fan base’s push for him? That’s a different level.

As for the 76ers, they could make a decent case. Joel Embiid is just 23, and Ben Simmons is only 21. They, along with a solid supporting cast, could keep LeBron’s championship-contention window open the rest of his career. It doesn’t hurt that Simmons shares an agent, Rich Paul, with LeBron.

But that Klutch connection alone isn’t enough to get LeBron to Philadelphia. Embiid’s health is a make-or-break concern. And Markelle Fultz is a huge unknown.

I still believe LeBron’s first choice is returning to the Cavaliers. But that’s contingent them doing all they can for him. Today’s response might just nudge them in that direction.