We’re still almost two full months away from another NBA season. However, plenty has changed since the Golden State Warriors won their third championship in four years. Kawhi Leonard is on the Toronto Raptors now. DeMar DeRozan is on the San Antonio Spurs. And oh yeah, LeBron James is a Los Angeles Laker.
And while LeBron ultimately did choose the Lakers, the Philadelphia 76ers made a play for him. In fact, they think they had a real shot with the king. But Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons claims he always knew where James was going. He just felt it, per NBA Australia’s James McKern.
“I spoke to him before he actually decided, but I just had a feeling that he’d already picked so it was kinda funny. … I was reaching out to him but I already knew,” Simmons said.
Meanwhile, he and the 76ers are coming off a 52-win regular season. Not only that, but they got all the way to the Eastern Conference semi-finals before falling to the Boston Celtics. And Simmons is a big part of the reason why they got as far as they did, averaging 15.8 points, 8.2 assists, 8.1 rebounds and 1.7 steals while playing in all but one game (81). There’s no reason the 76ers shouldn’t be battling the Celtics for years to come, and perhaps the Milwaukee Bucks as well.
On the other side of things, LeBron has his work cut out for him with the Lakers. That said, he wouldn’t have signed a four-year deal if he didn’t want to be there. After landing LeBron, the Lakers also brought in the likes of Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee and Michael Beasley — all on one-year deals. However, they also held on to Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram. That could be good!
Now, the Lakers only won 35 games last season. They haven’t reached the postseason since 2012-13. So it’s probably safe to say LeBron’s streak of eight straight NBA Finals appearances is over. That doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t be fun to watch, though.
Even if Simmons always knew.