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Sixers rumors: Philly can now offer 35% max contract thanks to draft trade

Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, TJ McConnell

A small move by the Philadelphia 76ers on draft night put them in prime position to sign LeBron James in free agency.

The 76ers traded their 10th pick for the 16th and a future 2021 pick saved them a specific amount of money, and it’s huge for their cap space situation, per Derek Bodner of The Athletic.

With the 16th pick in the draft slotted to have a cap hit of $2,589,480, compared to the $3,522,480 cap hit for the 10th pick, that means the Sixers will have $933,000 more in cap space as free agency begins. That sounds like a small amount, and it is, coming in at less than 1 percent of the projected $101 million salary cap. But it’s an important million for a team looking to get to the $35,350,000 in cap space it will need to offer LeBron James a maximum salary contract next week. In fact, with that $933,000 saved, the Sixers now wouldn’t have to rely on an outside team to offer James a maximum contract, whereas before they would have.

That total cap space number is the most important. There are many out there who think James will for sure to go the Los Angeles Lakers because of their cap space.

But the 76ers have a better roster than the Lakers, and an possibly get James a title sooner. And now that the 76ers don’t need any other teams to help them, they could be the best option for James in free agency.

Of course, no one knows what James will do or what will happen once July 1 hits. But the 76ers are definitely in the conversation, maybe more than ever before.