What would have been the Hollywood ending to the Sixers’ movie, almost certainly to be named “The Process,” ends with the would-be main character literally running to Hollywood?
You can’t make this stuff up.
LeBron James’ Decision 3.0 is officially over and it didn’t end with a royal procession on its way to Philadelphia. James opted for a four-year, $154 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Sixers appeared to be serious contenders, and with good reason. The franchise has a pair of young studs in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, the relatively easy ability to create max cap space and the aggressive mentality to continue chasing a Kawhi Leonard trade. Throw in the chance to stay in the familiar Eastern Conference and play for a storied franchise (James has frequently counted Julius Erving and Allen Iverson among his favorite all-time players), and the Sixers would have appeared to be near the top of the list.
That’s surely what the organization had to be thinking just hours earlier when it managed to secure the lone publicized free-agent meeting with James’ camp, as a contingent went to L.A. to talk to his agent Rich Paul.
We can suspect forever what was said by managing partners Josh Harris and David Blitzer during the meeting, but it never really mattered. James already had his mind made up and his Klutch Sports Group representatives were just doing due diligence at that point.
After all, have you ever interviewed for a new job with the company’s bosses and didn’t bother to show up? Yeah, me neither.
As good as the Sixers made themselves look on the free-agent scale, Philadelphia just isn’t home and was never going to be for the three-time NBA champion.
Of course, “the kid from Akron” called Northeast Ohio home for most of his life. However, he’s outgrown that from a basketball perspective (Cleveland Cavaliers have three NBA Finals losses to the Golden State Warriors in the last four years) and a business standpoint.
James’ media ventures that include everything from product endorsements to running his own production company take place in Los Angeles. And who better to learn from and help position yourself for a life after hoops than Lakers president Magic Johnson?
On top of that, L.A. has become base for the entire James family in recent years. The family has two homes in California and James’ oldest son, LeBron James Jr., has long been rumored to be taking his own talents to basketball powerhouse Sierra Canyon High School in Chatsworth, California.
It all adds up to James bypassing the Sixers for the land of purple and gold. And that’s OK. The Sixers still have a bright future, even brighter now that he’s made the trek out West.
But here’s to hoping the Sixers somehow meet the Lakers in the Finals for the movie’s sequel “Process That.”