Coaches and front office personnel cannot mention specific players by name when talking about impending free agents. That’s not how it works in professional sports. In the NBA, it’s called tampering and will be met with swift penalties by the powers to be in the league office.
In toeing the line between tampering and giving us insight into what their summer plans might be, Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown and general manager Bryan Colangelo made it clear who the team is going to be targeting in free agency. Without naming names, it’s none other than LeBron James.
“I’m not here to tell names. To me, the answer becomes clear,” Brown said when asked about the team’s free agent targets, via The Athletic’s Derek BoDner. “It’s true though, right? I mean, like, we don’t have to turn this into calculus. It’s quite clear.”
Brown went on to note that he thinks “another high-level free agent is required.”
Philadelphia itself has been linked to LeBron James on multiple occasions over the past several weeks. Following a conference semifinals exit at the hands of the Boston Celtics, it’s rather clear that the Sixers view it to be a necessity to target James this summer.
For his part, Colangelo followed Brown’s comments up with an interesting statement of his own.
“I think we need help to win a championship,” the executive said. “To say that this group can do it now? They obviously proved they couldn’t. Adding another talent and another piece is certainly something that we’re striving for,”
Despite boasting a young core that includes two of the game’s most talented players in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, it’s hard to argue with this logic.
If the Sixers were able to add James to the mix, they’d immediately become overwhelming conference title favorites. They also have the ability to sign James to a max deal with the right corresponding moves this summer.
It’s now rather obvious Philadelphia will target James. Whether signing him actually comes to fruition remains to be seen. But expect the team to pull out all of the stops here.