Could a former star cost the Sixers their top free-agent target?

Joel Embiid
Joel Embiid / Elsa/GettyImages

The Philadelphia 76ers will be in a unique position when free agency officially starts on June 30th. They will have superstar Joel Embiid under contract, all-star Tyrese Maxey on a qualifying offer, and not much else, allowing them to give their roster a facelift around their two best players this summer. The Sixers will have around $61 million in cap space to work with and their rumored top trade target could be LA Clippers star Paul George, who'd give them a perfect third option.

However, George recently made some curious comments on his Podcast P podcast. When speaking with former NBA star Zach Randolph, the conversation turned to both players being lied to by their team's general managers prior to being traded. In fact, George seemingly alluded to Philadelphia 76ers team president Daryl Morey having allegedly developed a reputation for not being honest to players including Chris Paul, Patrick Beverly, and even former Sixers star James Harden.

Harden flat-out called Morey a liar and refused to play for him and the Sixers unless he was traded. He was moved to the Clippers where he teamed with George. With George failing to agree on a new deal with L.A., the two may have spoken about the Sixers, who appear to be the biggest threat to sign him.

Could James Harden get revenge on Morey by convincing Paul George not to sign with the Philadelphia 76ers?

The old adage "players talk" may ring true but money talks too and the Sixers seem likely to offer George a max contract, which might be enough to convince him to leave the Clippers. Then again, George could use the Sixers to get the Clippers to up their offer without him actually considering leaving.

That would be disappointing for the Sixers, though they do have other free-agent options. It will be curious to see how successful they are in luring top players, given the reputation of Morey. It may not matter much if the Sixers make competitive offers but it will be something worth watching.