Signing LeBron James is last thing Sixers need and one ugly playoff loss to Miami Heat doesn’t change that
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) jumps by Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon (00) on his way to the basket during Jan. 6 game in Orlando, Fla.
With their stars still quite young and the Philadelphia 76ers projected to be about $25 million beneath the 2018-19 salary cap of $101 million, they have the greatest flexibility to sign a primo free agent. That would include even the biggest of all, LeBron James.
The notion of signing James will gain traction after last night’s alley mugging at the hands of the Miami Heat, a tough defensive team that made the kiddie Sixers look like the playoff newbies they are.
I am not a fan of such a move, for a variety of reasons. Here they are:
Philadelphia 76ers’ Ersan Ilyasova (23) drives on Miami Heat’s Josh Richardson during the second half in Saturday night’s Game 1 won by the Sixers, 130-103.
It’s not that Philadelphia doesn’t have the capability to embrace a big-name free agent. In spite of all his baggage, Michael Vick was not exactly spurned. The aged Pete Rose charmed the city and still is recalled here with some fondness even after all of his personal wreckage. The late Roy Halladay was embraced because of his obvious work ethic and commitment.
No, it’s about the personality fit. And it’s like this: Philadelphia does not care for someone who carries himself as would an emperor. This is a town of commoners. It’s not that they don’t like stars, it’s just that they abhor sports deities. They want someone not just willing to bend down to their level but who carries himself among them.
That’s why a working man’s hero such as Chase Utley will always be adored here. It’s why the soft-spoken and dignified Julius Erving wore well here. It’s why the always approachable Charles Barkley is celebrated here. It’s why Bernie Parent never need buy a beer here. And it’s why Allen Iverson, for all his flaws, will always be welcomed with a hug. Very different guys, all, but with one quality in common – the unassuming air of the populist.
This town is not interested in the pretense of royalty, in anyone with a title of King Anything. You try to pull that on these people and they will consume you. And not like buyers but like carnivores.