could a lean in the strut be caused by a bad wheel bearing
No, wheel bearing is part of the hub assembly. Sounds like your alignment is off if you have tire wear. When your mechanic is replacing the wheel bearing have them fix the alignment and get 2 new tires for the front. They will check for broken, worn or failed parts while they are doing the work.
Those upper bearings are a problem on those cars, it was cheaper for my friends GF to get a complete replacement strut than to buy the parts individually. I think he paid 100 bucks on ebay or so for a whole new strut, where the bearing plates were near 80 bucks ea.
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