As the 2017-18 NBA season continues, the future of LeBron James will become a contentious issue.
He's only 32-years-old, but if you look at him — and his body of work that already contains more playoff experience than Michael Jordan had — he resembles the most grizzled of veterans.
Even so, he is mounting an incredible season in the wake of the departure of Kyrie Irving and he, Kevin Love and Dwayne Wade, paired with an eventually returning Isaiah Thomas will make Cleveland an Eastern Conference title contender alongside Boston once again. But the long-term future is wide open.
More specifically, James' short-term long-term future is an unknown.
Many pontificated that after the three-time NBA champion becomes a free agent this summer that he would head out west and join Lonzo Ball's Los Angeles Lakers. Afterall, James' lives in the L.A. area during the offseason and it is expected that the Lakers should have enough room to offer James a max contract next season.
Another big player could emerge for James' services, and make a serious splash toward signing him. And that is the upstart 76ers.
The Cavs and Sixers played last week and, not surprisingly, Cleveland stomped Philly. But there was a mutual respect between the two teams after the loss. J.J. Redick, three-point specialist for the currently fifth-seeded Sixers, called James "the greatest player to ever play."
The youthful and competent core of Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, Robert Covington and eventually a healthy Markelle Fultz offer as good a supporting cast as any for James if he wants to continue competing for titles into his late 40s.
Sixers fans stood en mass when James was isoed against Embiid — and not surprisingly James got the best of the 7-foot-2 big man. But James sang Philly's praises mentioning that Philly should get credit for sticking with head coach Brett Brown and "believing in what he wanted to do and they gave him time." James also said his favorite NFL player was Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.
All this is speculation. Is there hard evidence? USA Today's Jeff Zillgritt thinks so.
“If James, who can become a free agent after this season, decides to leave the Cavaliers, he could — and should — consider the 76ers,” Zillgitt said. “And executives around the league believe Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo will attempt to sign James.”
If one thing is certain it's that there is no certainty regarding what LeBron James will and wants to do. But don't be surprised if the Sixers become a key player for his services this July.