Vegas’ Odds for LeBron James Next Stop Continue to Change
ESPN's Doug Kezirian, host of the "Behind the bets" podcast, breaks down how LeBron's free agency is affecting the NBA championship odds for the 2018-19 season.
LeBron James is expected to speak with the Heat, Lakers, Cavs, 76ers and Spurs during free agency per ESPN's Steven A. Smith, according to New York Times NBA writer Marc Stein.
The prominent ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith reported recently that James planned to speak to six teams in addition to the Cavaliers. Philadelphia, Houston, Miami and the Lakers were all mentioned — as were the juggernaut responsible for James’s 1-8 record in his last nine finals games (Golden State) and his longtime Eastern Conference nemesis (Boston). I’ve also been advised that the ever-persuasive San Antonio Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich is bound to try to force his way into the conversation to sell James on the merits of South Texas.
Each team has an interesting story to tell.
LeBron has a LA home and he has plenty of business opportunities in Los Angeles. That coupled with the heavy speculation that Paul George would like to return to his home town to play for the Lakers and LeBron's relationship with Magic Johnson, makes LA the current favorite.
As for the Sixers, they have a young core, and connections with Ben Simmons agent Rich Paul, who also represents King James. Would LeBron view himself as the missing piece for the Sixers, and most importantly, would he think they could get past the Warriors?
Landing in Houston would be tricky, there is a lot of moving parts to fit LeBron in Houston, with the most likely scenario being a sign-and-trade deal. Rockets GM Daryl Morey would need to move around some contracts to make the numbers work.
He could could opt back into his deal, and remain in Cleveland for another year and make a decision next season. However, his relationship with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert might be beyond repair at this point.
Regardless of where he ends up, LeBron said this decision is much different then his first decision back in 2010 when he left Cleveland to head to Miami and since his last free agency decision. He talked about his kids being older and that he'll sit down with his family and make a decision.