With less than a week until the start of NBA free agency, the league’s attention can fully turn away from the draft and focus on the task at hand. LeBron James is, by far, the biggest domino to fall and, in some circles, there is a belief that many players could simply be forced to sit back and wait for the best player in the world to make his decision once the bell rings.
To that end, the betting odds for the 2018-2019 NBA title are heavily influenced by speculation about James’ next destination and, in the early going, the Los Angeles Lakers emerged as slight favorites to land his commitment. Now, though, things have turned more drastically in favor of the Lakers on the heels of the draft itself.
On Friday, off-shore bookmaker Bovada.lv released updated odds for where James might begin the 2018-19 campaign and, while the order of the teams is not drastically different from previous iterations, the Lakers have ascended to status as “heavy” favorites. Right now, bettors would have to wager $1300 to win $400 on the Lakers (4/13 odds), where as the Cavs (with the second-best odds) have exactly inverse odds at 13/4.
Some of this can certainly be traced to the rumors surrounding Kawhi Leonard and a potential fit with the Lakers but, even if Los Angeles is unable to secure a trade with the Spurs, James could partner with Paul George and swing the balance of power. Obviously, a lot has to happen before James actually makes anything official but at least one bookmaker is leaning heavily in favor of the Lakers.
Here are the full odds, via Bovada.lv:
Los Angeles Lakers 4/13
Cleveland Cavaliers 13/4
Houston Rockets 15/2
Philadelphia 76ers 10/1
Boston Celtics 18/1
San Antonio Spurs 20/1
Los Angeles Clippers 25/1
New York Knicks 30/1
Miami Heat 40/1