With The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reporting that he keeps hearing the Sixers, Rockets, Lakers and Cavs are the four teams on LeBron James' free-agency wishlist, let's take a look at feasibility and fit of the Sixers' top three competitors for The King's services:
Houston is the favorite in Vegas to land LeBron. The Rockets already have two superstars and an emerging, high-level rim protector in Clint Capela. Houston is a big market and the Rockets may even have a chance to beat the Warriors this season, without LeBron.
From a titles standpoint, the Rockets make the most sense for The King. It's a ready-made championship situation, but it wouldn't be simple building that roster.
To make room for LeBron, the Rockets would have to find a taker for Ryan Anderson's $20 million annual salary. That won't be easy and will almost certainly require Houston to part with a first-round pick or two.
The Rockets will also likely have to find takers for the contracts of P.J. Tucker and Nene, two valuable role players but obviously pieces you're OK with losing for the likes of an all-time great.
From a salary cap perspective, the Rockets could put together a roster including LeBron, James Harden, Chris Paul, Capela and maybe Eric Gordon, but the rest of the team would have to be filled out with minimum types of contracts.
LeBron has two homes in Los Angeles, and the Lakers now have cap space for two huge contracts thanks to the Jordan Clarkson-Larry Nance-Isaiah Thomas trade with Cleveland.
Those are the pros for L.A.
The cons are how it would all fit.
The Lakers' best-case offseason scenario would be signing both LeBron and Paul George. Let's imagine for a second that happens. You'd have a Lakers team featuring LeBron, George, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball. With zero rim protection.
Obviously, in this scenario, a trade would be necessary — involving Ball, Kuzma or maybe both. The Lakers would need more shooting and inside defense, and Ball's best quality (distribution) would be a lot less necessary with LeBron.
Would a team like that win a championship in a loaded West? Probably not. LeBron has to realize that Houston aside, staying in the Eastern Conference gives him the best chance at advancing deep into the playoffs every season.
If the Cavs have an inkling LeBron is staying, they'd trade that coveted Nets lottery pick for an established star.
But even with another established star — whoever that may be — this is a fading Cavs team. Kevin Love's trade value isn't nearly as high as it once was.
The Cavs also have so much money committed to so many guys that they lack roster flexibility. If LeBron, Love and the cast of role players return, along with whoever they trade the Nets pick for, that's still probably a 50-plus win team in the East but not a surefire favorite with the Celtics, Raptors and Sixers all getting better.
These four teams sure look like the only four legit contenders for LeBron, but anyone who claims to know what he will decide at this point is full of it.