“Where will LeBron end up?” That’s the question that will dominate NBA free agency discussions over the next month. Let’s take a look at some of his potential landing spots and some odds for next year’s championship. Odds below are from June 18 at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. Predicting NBA Free Agency with 2019 Championship Odds.
LA Lakers (+800) – The (potential) big spenders. According to Real GM, the Lakers will have almost $58.4 million in projected cap space. It’s no secret that LeBron has a passion for the entertainment industry and investment opportunities off the basketball court. Rumor has it that LeBron’s son recently enrolled in a Los Angeles prep school. Even if King James decides to go elsewhere, the Lakers should be an attractive destination for some combination of Paul George/Chris Paul/DeMarcus Cousins.
Philadelphia 76ers (+750) – Personally, I don’t see it. The Sixers are projected to have nearly $22.9 million in cap space this summer, so they’ll definitely be adding pieces. But how/where will they fit? Philadelphia’s two primary ballhandlers, Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons, both have shooting woes. Joel Embiid is a fantastic talent, but I’m not so sure Head Coach Brett Brown has figured out how to build an offense around him. Sixers fans have a lot to be excited for, especially if King James seriously considers the City of Brotherly Love, but I’m still not going to buy them as a 2019 title contender at their current price.
Cleveland Cavaliers (+5000) – What if he stays? It certainly feels unlikely after Cleveland failed to build a team around him, but what if he’s tired of moving? What if he doesn’t want to go to the Western Conference? At offshore sportsbooks, LeBron is +400 to stay in Cleveland (second choice in the betting options behind Los Angeles). If you think there’s a half-decent chance he stays in Cleveland, he’s only going to do it with a Championship-caliber team around him. Plus, it certainly doesn’t hurt that the Cavs can offer LeBron the most money.
Milwaukee Bucks (+10000) – If LeBron does decide to go to the Western Conference, who is in line to challenge Boston in the East? Let’s start with the team that took them to seven games in this year’s playoffs. Over the last couple years, if you asked NBA insiders who the worst-coached team in the league was, I’d be willing to bet Milwaukee would be very high on that list. Those days are over with the hiring of Mike Budenholzer in May. Milwaukee’s cap situation isn’t great, so it’s unlikely that they’ll be adding much. But with a core of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middlton, Eric Bledsoe and Malcolm Brogdon, they don’t need to add much. They need to get more out of them.
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Predicting NBA Free Agency with 2019 Championship Odds