NEW YORK: Joel Embiid sparked talk of NBA superstar LeBron James leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for Philadelphia with a Twitter posting Friday (Saturday in Manila) after the 76ers win over Cleveland.
Embiid posted a photograph of himself with James sharing a laugh on the court with the message: “Trust The Process??? Always a great time playing against one of the best to ever play the game #summer2018goals.”
The hashtag played upon the fears of Cleveland fans, who already saw James leave the Cavaliers for four seasons with the Miami Heat before returning, that James will depart again when he becomes a free agent in July.
Four-time NBA Most Valuable Player James has played in the past seven consecutive NBA Finals, winning twice with Miami and once with Cleveland, bringing the city its first major sports champion since the NFL Browns in 1964.
But a Pennsylavnia business posted a billboard in Cleveland this week with the hashtag “PhillyWantsLeBron.”
So the idea that one of Embiid’s summer goals might be to bring James, one of the NBA’s top players, to a 76ers squad loaded with young talent such as Australian playmaker Ben Simmons was enough to spark concern.
James denied reports he has visited Philadelphia to look at private schools for his children.
And after seeing the reaction to his tweet regarding James speculation, Embiid added a follow-up message — “It’s not what y’all think lol.”
Still, James picked an interesting moment to begin following Embiid on Instagram.
And James went on Instagram himself to heap praise on Simmons, who shares representation with James.
“I told y’all a while back that my young King was next in line! Getting better and better every night out! Tonight another example of that,” James posted alongside a game photo of himself and Simmons.
“Fun to watch and compete against you again and #TheProcess @joelembiid. Remember lil bro settle for nothing less than GREATNESS!!!”
The idea that message could extend to the 76ers managemengt when it comes to adding talent is what worries Cavs supporters.
The Cavaliers rank third in the Eastern Conference at 36-25 while the 76ers are 33-27 in sixth. The clubs might even face each other when the NBA playoffs begin next month.