Hours after a heated free agency period began on Sunday, LeBron James agreed to join the Los Angeles Lakers — eschewing the Sixers and their pitch to have the NBA’s biggest star join young talent in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
The Sixers missed out on James, and they missed out on Paul George — who decided to remain with the Oklahoma City Thunder — but Philly might still be in play for Spurs all-star Kawhi Leonard.
The Lakers might be able to trade for Leonard — something that likely made L.A. an attractive destination to James — but the Sixers are reportedly still in the hunt for trading for Leonard as well.
And the Spurs keep trying to raise the ante for the two-time defensive player of the year, saying that another team is offering more. Read more about what’s next for the Sixers here.
Other free-agency news and analysis:
• Mike Sielski kind-of called it when he wrote about the two biggest obstacles the Sixers faced in the pursuit of James.
• Marcus Hayes thinks a lot can happen in one year. Even if Leonard wants to head to L.A. in 2019, the Sixers should still chase him.
• What does this mean for the Eastern Conference? Sarah Todd explores the clear path the Sixers have to the top now that James is out west.
>>READ MORE: Sixers free agency primer
Other Sixers free agency news
Marco Belinelli agreed to two-year, $12 million deal to return to the Spurs. He played three seasons in San Antonio, 2013-16. The Italian player was a member of the Spurs’ 2014 NBA championship team.
Ilyasova will sign a three-year, $21 million contract to return to the Milwaukee Bucks. The 31-year-old played his first seven seasons with the Bucks. His wife and children still live in Milwaukee.
The Sixers would like to get rid of Jerryd Bayless’ contract, either through a trade or buyout, to clear cap space. He’s got one-year left on the three-year deal he signed when Philly brought him in to be the starting point guard in 2016.
>>READ MORE: What do Sixers fans really want?