1:37pm: Multiple people with the Sixers are confident that Leonard would strongly consider re-signing with Philadelphia in 2019 if the club can acquire him, tweets Ian Begley of ESPN. Jabari Young of The San Antonio Express-News confirms (via Twitter) that Leonard would entertain the possibility of sticking in Philadelphia if he’s traded to the Sixers rather than his preferred destination of L.A.
11:33am: The Sixers are set to meet with LeBron James‘ representatives in Los Angeles, and one of their top selling points will be a belief that they have a real chance to win the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes and acquire the star forward from the Spurs, reports Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link).
We heard earlier this week that the 76ers were weighing possible trade packages for Leonard, having run a few ideas by team ownership. Dario Saric, Robert Covington, and the Heat’s 2021 first-round pick were cited as potential trade chips for Philadelphia that would appeal to the Spurs.
Now that James is officially a free agent, it’s a little simpler for a team like the Sixers – or the Lakers – to know where they stand in regard to both Kawhi and LeBron. Teams pursuing Leonard were in the dark last week prior to James’ option deadline, but it would be easier now for a club to overpay to acquire the Spurs forward if that club could be confident that doing so would convince LeBron to sign, as Derek Bodner of The Athletic tweets.
There’s no guarantee that’s the case for the Sixers, but even without Leonard, the franchise could make a strong pitch to James’ reps today. The pitch will likely center on the culture that Brett Brown has built, the presence of elite defenders like Covington and Joel Embiid, and a style of play that could challenge the Warriors, tweets TNT’s David Aldridge.