But getting Leonard could be the lure the Lakers need to entice James to the West Coast.
The Sixers can offer a max contract, so they meet that basic requirement. Whether or not they bet the farm and go in too deep, with nothing to surround Leonard and perhaps LeBron with, is a whole other can of beans.
Free agency begins Saturday at 9:01 p.m. PT, but players can not officially sign until next Friday.
Despite speculation that Philadelphia and Houston could be in play for James, the Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers might be the only two realistic options. With LeBron's opt-out decision just hours away, the Lakers are reportedly aggressively pursuing San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, who requested a trade earlier this month with the Lakers as his top destination. While he may re-sign with them anyway, there's really no reason to other than money. Hoops Hype is suggesting that the Clippers have made trading for Kawhi Leonard a high priority. "If they are going to make a leverage trade... they might as well make it in February".
The Lakers' acquisition of James has been speculated at great length since last summer.
Recently, it's been suggested James would be willing to join the youthful Lakers without significant upgrades to their roster. "Understanding, especially, where my boys are at this point in their age".
"I would think the Sixers have the best package to offer, because they have numerous draft picks and young players", said Jon Johnson, KYW's Sixers' beat man and one of the foremost local authorities on the Sixers. He could opt out and re-sign with Cleveland, although the strong current from national media is James appears ready to move again.
George isn't the only free agent the Lakers could target in a pairing with James.
Leonard can become a free agent next summer.
Assessing Leonard's value at this point is fairly hard, but no doubt San Antonio is doing all they can to make sure they are well-compensated for his services. Whether that is true or San Antonio just want to use Philly for leverage is up for debate, but the Sixers are at least at the table.