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The future of likely free agent LeBron James will again dictate the futures odds market for the NBA this offseason if he opts out of the final year of his current contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers as expected by June 29.
Where James will ultimately end up remains to be seen, but sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark have been cautious with their 2019 NBA championship odds in anticipation that he could sign with one of a few different teams.
Regardless, the two-time defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors top the betting board as +125 favorites (wager $ 100 to win $ 125) to win their third title in a row, something that has not been accomplished since the Los Angeles Lakers completed their three-peat back in 2002.
The Lakers are listed as one of the top suitors on the LeBron James 2018-19 team odds in an effort to return to relevance in the Western Conference next season.
Los Angeles has cleared enough salary-cap space to make a run at James and perhaps another star player like Paul George, who has been speculated to be headed there since his days with the Indiana Pacers. George was dealt to the Oklahoma City Thunder from the Pacers prior to last season and can opt out of his deal there as well to become a free agent.
The Lakers are +1600 to win the 2019 NBA championship, the fifth choice on the board behind the Warriors, Houston Rockets (+400), Philadelphia 76ers (+450) and Boston Celtics (+600) and ahead of the Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs (both +2500).
The 76ers and Celtics would obviously benefit the most in the Eastern Conference if James defects to the West, although the former is still hoping to make a solid bid for his services to put them over the top. Meanwhile, the latter should be the team to beat in the East if James leaves Cleveland and Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward stay healthy.
The Rockets are the other intriguing contender that could land James, potentially forming a “Big Three” featuring him, James Harden and another unrestricted free agent that they could re-sign in Chris Paul.
James would seem to have a much better shot to win another championship in Houston compared to Los Angeles depending on who else the Lakers could lure, such as George or possibly Kawhi Leonard of the Spurs via trade.
For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.