While many expect LeBron James to join the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018, this will not stop the Philadelphia 76ers from pursuing him once he decides to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers. According to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, many NBA executives believe that Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo will try to sign James in case he leaves Cleveland in 2018. Zillgitt also believes that James should consider the 76ers, instead of just training his sight on the Lakers. Compared to the Lakers, the 76ers have a stronger core featuring Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Robert Covington.

If top overall pick Markelle Fultz lives up to his billing, it would be a welcome development for James.

James-to-Lakers predicted

Earlier, podcaster/columnist Bill Simmons floated the idea that James might join the Lakers and join forces with Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram after this season. There is also a possibility that Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Paul George Oklahoma City Thunder might join forces with James with the Lakers. James is in the second year of a three-year, $100-million deal that he signed with the Cavaliers in 2016. It has a player option worth $35.6 million in 2018 that James could either exercise or leave on the table to test the free-agent market. Until now, James remains mum about his future with the team that has slowly regained its form after a sluggish start, winning their last nine games to improve to 14-7.

On Tuesday, the Cavaliers defeated the Miami Heat, 108-97, behind 38 points from Kevin Love and 21 points and 12 boards from James.

Cavs might trade James

If James leaves the Cavaliers in 2018, they will get nothing in return, so there is a possibility that they might trade him before the February deadline, according to Howard Beck of Bleacher Report.

When James moved to the Heat in 2010, the Cavaliers were left empty-handed, forcing them into a rebuilding mode. The Cavaliers slowly rebuilt the team drafting Kyrie Irving first overall in the 2011 NBA Draft. The Cavaliers then became instant contenders again when James return to their fold in 2014, making it to the NBA Finals for three straight times, winning one title during the 2015-16 season.

However, the partnership between James and Irving ended when the latter demanded a trade in the offseason. The Cavaliers then traded Irving to the Boston Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick and a 2020 second-round pick.