SocraticGadfly: Colangelo, Sixers and LeBron

June 09, 2018

Colangelo, Sixers and LeBron

First, with the resignation of former Sixers GM Bryan Colanegelo, speculation has heated up that ownership might target former Cavs GM David Griffin and hope that he could land LeBron James, assuming the King leaves the Cavs.

ESPN breaks the numbers down.

They can easily get into Paul George range cap space and hope LeBron would sign for a stretched deal. Not likely. With one more trade or player renouncement, though, that gets them into LeBron territory.

So, what would that team look like?

To get to the first level of max-contract room, one level below that of George, the team would have to renounce free agents J.J. Redick, Marco Belinelli, Ersan Ilyasova, Amir Johnson and Demetrius Jackson.

They have full Bird rights on none. Other than Jackson, who was on a two-way contract and in just his second year, all would be over 30 next year. Redick and Johnson both had the same win shares, within half a point, as Joel Embiid. The others are lower down the scale. Johnson has some positional versatility and Redick a high three-pointer value.

Trading Jerryd Bayless as well, without taking a player back, to a team that can do that, would get them into the second, Paul George, max contract tier. He'll be 30 next year and no loss. It would hurt the Sixers mildly, though, if they had to include, say, a second-round draft choice to make another team eat his one remaining year.

ESPN then adds that trading Justin Anderson, under the same provisions as Bayless, gets them near, maybe into, the third, LeBron max contract tier.

With that, all the key core players from this last season remain, except Redick, right?

Problems, though.

That's not a great three-ball team, though it's not horrible, either. Despite #TrustTheProcess clips, Embiid is not that efficient of a three-baller, and he regressed from the year before. Dario Saric is good, tis true. Markelle Fultz sucks from downtown until proven otherwise, though. We know Ben Simmons sucks from out there until otherwise proven; the Celtics proved that in the East semifinals. Robert Covington is actually not only much better than either of them, he's a skoosh or two above the Process. BUT! ... Covington could well be the current starter who loses the most playing time.

Observation: Covington is on an incredibly cheap deal considering his three-ball skills, his solid rebounding from the 3 position and playing at least OK defense. In fact, he should fire the agent who got him to sign his current contract last year, in my opinion.

Questions: How do Simmons, who is like a junior LeBron with no outside shot, and LeBron himself co-exist? How does Covington, or Saric, whomever, like the bench, assuming Fultz replaces Redick at the 2? Or should he? Do you instead start a VERY big lineup of James, Simmons, Covington, Saric and Embiid?

Also, how does LeBron affect chemistry on a team that, setting aside Redick, was otherwise young among all its starters last year? How does that relate to how he and Simmons try to work together as playmakers?

That said, I put that team ahead of this year's, but would NOT, at first thought, put it ahead of next year's Celtics if Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward are both at or near 100 percent.

And, speaking of all this, what do the Cavs look like without LeBron? Did their spitballing of Kyrie trade possibilities that increased his desire to leave come from LeBron, not just ownership/management? ESPN ponders the first, talks about the spitballing but not the second question, here.

Finally, if it's necessary to "stretch" LeBron's contract, does he agree to that? And, for how many years? And, with him already in the top 20 in career regular season minutes and No. 1 in career playoff minutes, how long do WANT that to be? I'm leery of more than three years and very leery of more than four.

Sidebar: Speculating on the fall of Colangelo, on an ESPN roundtable, Royce Young thinks it unbelievable that whomever tipped off Ben Detrick at The Ringer couldn't have been some anonymous Twitter dude.

Really? Mr. Young is obviously unfamiliar with the late prolific Twitterer and self-proclaimed campaign finance guru ActualFlatticus, known IRL as Chris Chopin. (This assumes that Chopin was indeed a one-person operation on Twitter and that he didn't get undue levels of assistance from his A-team Washington lobbyist sister. But, on Twitter as on Reddit, there's deep-state level geeks aplenty.)

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