"We fully expected LeBron to opt out and exercise his free agent rights, so this does not come as a surprise," Riley said in a statement. "As I said at the press conference last week, players have a right to free agency and when they have these opportunities, the right to explore their options. We look forward to sitting down with LeBron and his representatives and talking about our future together."
Could there possibly be a future that would put the Sixers and James together? The Sixers do have close to $30 million under the salary cap and could make a run at both LeBron James and another high-end free agent, say, Carmelo Anthony. But that seems to be more fantasy than reality. By opting out of his contract, James has probably triggered the process of teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh doing the same, in order for all of them to restructure contracts and save the Heat some money, so they can better build around their three superstars.
The Sixers, of course, are still at least 2 years away from having their own practice facility, set to be a state-of-the-art complex on the Camden waterfront. Until then, they'll continue renting at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Could you see LeBron and Carmelo walking across campus from their parking spot every day to get in some practice? Uh, no.
Some things could be in the Sixers' favor, however, by LeBron deciding to test the waters. What if the Cleveland Cavaliers think before tomorrow night's draft that they have a legitimate shot at bringing back the four-time league MVP? How might that affect their No. 1 overall draft pick? Maybe they'd draft differently and the Sixers would land their prize in Andrew Wiggins.
Stay tuned, but don't hold your breath.
A source confirmed yesterday that the Sixers hired another assistant coach. Eugene Burroughs, who most recently was the associate head coach at Penn State, is a Philadelphia native who was on Billy Lange's coaching staff at Navy for seven seasons. Lange is now a player development coach for the Sixers. Burroughs was an assistant to Jay Wright at Hofstra for three seasons and played at Episcopal Academy for Dan Dougherty.
On Twitter: @BobCooney76