LeBron James was not persuaded by comedian Kevin Hart’s attempts to get him to sign with the Philadephia 76ers.
After rejoining the Cavaliers in 2014 and helping them win the NBA playoffs in 2016, there is a possibility of James departing Cleveland at the end of the season as a free agent as he has an opt-out in his contract. He is also reportedly open to the prospect due to a strained relationship with owner Dan Gilbert. Besides, he desires to join a team with more of an all-star supporting cast as he seeks to add to his three NBA rings.
A number of teams have been linked with signing the 33-year-old in recent times such as the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors and the 76ers.
The 76ers is a particularly intriguing prospect as James joining with the likes of youngsters Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, the latter of whom is a leading candidate for Rookie of the Year, could set up a new super team for the next couple of years.
It was reported in February that James was “checking out” Philadelphia private schools during the All-Star break while he was also flattered by fans in the City of Brotherly Love setting up a billboard campaign to get him to join their team.
“You can say it’s a distraction — it’s not. Not a distraction,” James said at the time. “It is actually very flattering that I’m sitting here at 33 and in my 15th year and teams or guys — I don’t want to say teams because that becomes tampering. But people in their respective city want me to play for them. That’s cool I think. That’s dope.”
Hart, a Philadelphia native, recently tried his best to help in the efforts to bring the three-time NBA champion to the 76ers but claims he was told to “kiss his a*s”. He added that he does not believe James will leave his hometown team.
“Listen. I’ve already tried,” Hart told TMZ, as quoted on the Daily Caller. “I sent him $40, he didn’t accept it. I really did send him $40 and I said come to Philly. And he said, ‘kiss his a*s.’”
“Listen, you’re looking at a guy who has the world at his hands. You know, if he were to go somewhere else, whoever gets that opportunity it’s amazing. I think what he’s doing for the city of Cleveland is unreal. That economy shoots through the sky because of him. So I don’t think he’s leaving. Other people think he will. I don’t think he’s going nowhere.”
Since the end of the NBA playoffs finals last year where the Golden State Warriors thumped the Cavaliers 4-1, James saw his most accomplished teammate in Kyrie Irving join the Boston Celtics. Tyronn Lue’s men have since been disappointing in the regular season this year as they lie in third in the Eastern Conference.
However, there is a belief that things could be on the up for the Cavs after a remarkable comeback win over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night in which James scored 35 points, 17 assists and seven rebounds without recording a single turnover.
The Detroit Pistons’ loss to the Houston Rockets on Thursday night also clinched the Cleveland side’s place in the NBA playoffs this year.