76ers

Kawhi Leonard to Sixers? Only if the price is right

Kawhi Leonard to Sixers? Only if the price is right

It’s already been an interesting and anxious offseason for the Sixers, but the fun has only just begun.

They’ve been mentioned as a possible landing spot for the greatest player in the world in LeBron James and disgruntled Spurs superstar Kawhi Leonard.

It’s no secret the Sixers want to acquire another star — or two — to complement Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Brett Brown, the team’s head coach and interim GM, wasn’t shy in stating that the Sixers are “star hunting.”

But what’s the cost?

For James, it’s simple: A max contract, which the Sixers should be able to afford fairly easily with few maneuvers. Leonard, on the other hand, could be tricky.

There’s no doubt the Sixers have the assets to make a Leonard trade happen, but what would they be willing to give up? If James is coming here, then you sell, sell, sell. Dario Saric and Markelle Fultz are tough guys to lose, but if you’re getting the opportunity to bring in James and Leonard to play with Embiid and Simmons, you don’t think twice.

The counterpoint to acquiring James and Leonard is a desire to keep the team’s young core in intact. But why? You get those four superstars and then you figure out the rest later. Do you think the Warriors were worried about their "young core" when they let Harrison Barnes walk and signed Kevin Durant? Nope. That’s worked out pretty well for them.

The trickier scenario occurs if you know you’re not getting James. Do you go all in and build around the core of Leonard, Embiid and Simmons? Do you hang onto your assets and cap space, hoping to take another shot at a star next offseason? What about Leonard’s contract situation?

If James doesn’t come here, the Sixers should be careful with Leonard. He’s a star player — a two-time Defensive Player of the Year with an ascending offensive game. He’ll be just 27 when the season starts. The injury is a concern, but with Leonard being treated by Dr. Jonathan Glashow, the Sixers' chief medical officer, there’s no team with better information on Leonard’s quad. This is a player worth trading for.

But again, at what price? A Leonard, Embiid and Simmons-led squad would be among the East’s best teams, but if you’re giving up Saric, Fultz, and first-round pick Zhaire Smith among other things, will you be able to compete with the Celtics in the East? Sure, you’ll have veterans that will want to play here, but the Sixers have to be wary to not relinquish too many assets to the Spurs.

When it comes to Leonard’s contract status, if he’s unwilling to sign an extension here, you don’t make the deal. It’s that simple. There is no point in giving away assets on a one-year rental, even if James comes to Philly next season.

Star-hunting season begins July 1. Should Leonard be in the Sixers’ crosshairs? Yes, but the trigger should only be pulled if the price is right.

More on the Sixers

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•​ NBA free agency preview: Can Sixers upgrade from Johnson at backup center?

•​ If no LeBron or P.G., how should Sixers proceed in free agency?

•​ Sixers to get some international visitors during preseason

•​​​ Will Ben Simmons really get to design a new Sixers jersey?​

Sixers Talk podcast: What will we see from Joel Embiid if season resumes?

Sixers Talk podcast: What will we see from Joel Embiid if season resumes?

On this edition of the Sixers Talk podcast, we put bow on remembering the 1983 NBA champs and discuss Joel Embiid's comments about feeling like he turned a corner at the All-Star Game.

(1:15) — Discussing the nostalgia of the 1983 NBA Finals.
(12:23) — Former Sixers who would thrive in this current era of the NBA.
(18:37) — Embiid believes he was on the path to dominate when the season was suspended.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers

Tobias Harris calls for resignation of local politician over 'disgusting' press release

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USA Today Images

Tobias Harris calls for resignation of local politician over 'disgusting' press release

After Ben Simmons had some pointed comments for the president early Tuesday morning, Tobias Harris took exception to a press release from a local politician.

On Tuesday morning, Harris quote tweeted a press release from Joe Gale, calling for the Montgomery County Commissioner to resign. 

Harris, who took part in peaceful protests over the weekend in the city in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minnenapolis, took it a step further by sharing a petition demanding Gale’s resignation.

It appears so many people attempted to access it after Harris shared it that the site’s server crashed.

This is apparently not the first time Gale has shared views of this nature. Harris retweeted the following:

Harris has already contributed to the community in a big way since signing a near-max contract this past offseason.

In October, he donated $1 million for a “community draft” to assist nine under-served communities in Philadelphia. In December, he spent the day at Bethune Elementary School in North Philadelphia, where he donated supplies and treated the black male teachers at the school to a night out at a Sixers game. He’s also made a variety of donations for COVID-19 relief.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers