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Less than a week after Philadelphia 76ers franchise player Joel Embiid sat next to free-agent-to-be Paul George on ESPN's pre-game show and hinted that he'd like to team up with the star forward, the Sixers' interest in signing George has "significantly waned," according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.

The Sixers can enter the offseason with up to $65 million in cap space if they so choose, and, in his end-of-season press conference, team president Daryl Morey told reporters that their biggest need was "someone at the wing who can play and deliver at a high level in the playoffs." A few days before that, ESPN's Brian Windhorst had said that Philadelphia was expected to offer George a max contract. In "recent days," however, Philadelphia's focus has shifted "elsewhere," per The Athletic.

George, who has spent the last five seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers, is one of the best players on the free-agent market, if not the very best. If the Sixers aren't seriously pursuing him anymore, is it because they don't like their chances of luring him away from Los Angeles? Is it because they have something else up their sleeve?

It is rare that a team that employs a recent MVP (Embiid) and a capable co-star (Tyrese Maxey) has enough cap space to sign another star to a max contract. Thanks to the trade that sent James Harden to the Clippers, Philadelphia also has some draft capital to spend in potential trades. In theory, Philadelphia would be a nice destination for just about any wing who is either about to hit free agency or hoping to be traded. In addition to George, LeBron James, OG Anunoby, Miles Bridges and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are all about to be free agents. Jimmy Butler is under contract with the Miami Heat for another season, but he's been linked to the Sixers in the rumor mill, too.

George's immediate future remains hazy. When Kawhi Leonard signed a contract extension with the Clippers in January, he said he did so with the expectation that George and Harden would be sticking around. Leonard, however, signed a less-than-max deal that runs through the end of the 2026-27 season. If George were willing to accept something similar, it's fair to assume that he would have done so already.