To hear Philadelphia 76ers managing partner Josh Harris tell it, LeBron James almost came to the City of Brotherly Love instead of joining the Los Angeles Lakers.
“I think they considered us very strongly,” Harris said when discussing the meeting the 76ers had with James’ agent, Rich Paul, and Klutch Sports, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com.
“I think he—I would be speculating on how he makes his decisions, and I don’t want to do that—but I think that they were really serious [about Philadelphia],” he continued. “The fact that they took the meeting with us was something that they didn’t view lightly, so I think that they were very serious about it.”
It is not difficult to envision the 76ers competing for the championship next season had James signed with them. Not only would that have decimated the defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers, but it also would have given a Philadelphia squad that reached the second round of last season’s playoffs a four-time MVP who has played in the last eight NBA Finals.
Alas, 76ers fans can only dream of James playing alongside the likes of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric and Markelle Fultz.
While Los Angeles’ young core of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope didn’t enjoy the team success Philadelphia’s did last season, it is a solid group of players that James can work with.
He was the ultimate prize this offseason as a three-time champion, four-time league MVP, three-time NBA Finals MVP, 14-time All-NBA member and 14-time All-Star, and he will now be tasked with leading the Lakers to the playoffs for the first time since the 2012-13 campaign.