2018 NBA Offseason: The Philadelphia 76ers now have incredibly unique leverage come free agency

For the first time since April of 2016, the Philadelphia 76ers have an opening at the general manager position. After a week of burning allegations and pointed fingers, we now have answers to who is responsible (or, who was thrown under the bus), and this leaves the Sixers with an important question: Who will be the next general manager?

On April 6, 2016, Sam Hinkie resigned, which was the exact day that the Associated Press reported Bryan Colangelo would be the team’s next GM. According to Josh Harris, in his first public appearance since ABC (after Bryan Colangelo), the team will begin looking for a replacement right away, but don’t be surprised if it takes more than a day this time.

There are two roads that the 76ers could drive down: One is short-sited with time-senstitve benefits, and the other option is more of a gamble, but it could pay off long term; which some of us may be used to by now.

First, the team could jot down a list of potential candidates such as David Griffin, Mike Zarren, some guy named Sam Hinkie, or Gersson Rosas. With this list, they would then move on to the interview process and then the selection stage.

Another option could be to wait, which leads us to an interesting dynamic.

On July 1, there will be just a little bit of focus on two soon-to-be unemployed NBA players; LeBron James and Paul George (Kawhi Leonard is not mentioned because he’d be acquired by a team via trade, not free agency). With this said, Philadelphia has a unique approach to selling the aforementioned free agents.

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Photo: Darren Carroll/NBAE via Getty Images

In the meetings, sure to be conducted by head coach Brett Brown, majority owner Josh Harris, and center pieces of the team such as Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, the Sixers have the ability to tell interviewees that they could have a say in who the next general manager of the franchise could be. It is such a farfetched form of leverage that you don’t often see, but put yourself in the position of the free agent.

Picking up your life and moving to another city for a professional athlete is a standard business practice, but that doesn’t mean it is easy. There is a new atmosphere, new people, and a new style. In most scenarios, unless the team has more of a hands-on ownership group, (individual), the first hand you shake is the general manager’s. In this case, the first hand the general manager shakes could be LeBron James or Paul George.

The influence that James and George could have on the future of the 76ers may not be something fans would be interested in, understandably so, but in order to land once-in-a-lifetime talent such as the two of them, some sacrifices have to be make; the obvious one being money.

LeBron James is fighting for his life to win a game against the Golden State Warriors, who are currently up three games to zero on the Cleveland Cavaliers. Over the last month, James has hoisted the Cavs over his shoulders and carried them to the finals. Needless to say, I’m sure he wishes he had more help.

As I said before, put yourself in the position of a free agent. At this stage of LeBron’s career, there is no way he wants to be part of a project or a system that seems like a wildcard. Right now, the Philadelphia 76ers are a colorful canvas with a lot of blank space.

Just two seasons after winning 10 games, Philly tallied 52 victories. They have the 10th and 26th picks in the 2018 NBA Draft, financial flexibility, franchise pieces, and unique, young talent.

Money will be made, but the decisions to be made could carry more weight to a guy like James. he has always wanted some form of control on teams that he has played for, and deservingly so. That said, how could you draw up a better option?

This summer, the 76ers will most definitely meet with LeBron James. In that same office, in the same offseason, LeBron could be in the same meeting room, sitting across from the newest general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers. This time, he’s the one conducting the interview.

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