Buckle up, basketball fans. LeBron James could be a free agent this summer.
When the greatest player of all time hits free agency, every day is a new adventure. Every Instagram like tells a story, and every Snap story has a third or even a fourth meaning. Some team have been planning for this summer for years, while others have led a PR charge in a desperate attempt to lure a once-in-a-generation talent.
LeBron James Free Agency Odds
While some Vegas books won’t take the action, other offshore oddsmakers are allowing futures bets on James’ future. Let’s take a look at the most recent odds from BetOnline:
The most striking thing about these odds is that the Cleveland Cavaliers are the fourth-most likely destination. James has a player option to stay in Cleveland for the 2018 season, earning him $35.6 million in the process. If that happens, the madness would continue, and James would be an unrestricted free agent in 2019.
Another interesting note is how far down Miami is on the list. The Heat are the longest odds on the board at +2500, but they are only 20-1 to win the NBA title. That may not seem like good odds, but it’s better than both the Spurs (25-1)
or even the Cavaliers (30/1).
According to these odds, James heading to Houston is an overwhelmingly likely scenario. The Rockets were already the top seed in the Western Conference this season, and lost to the Warriors in Game 7 of the conference finals.
James to Houston could potentially bring the Banana Boat Crew together, uniting friends James, Wade and Paul on a stacked Rockets roster.
Where Will LeBron Play in 2018
While it would certainly make things easier to win a championship, it’s hard to imagine James taking his talents to Houston. James is conscious of his reputation and his legacy, and he knows that being an accessory on a loaded Houston team could hurt him long-term.
James would also have to learn to play with James Harden. Both a heavy ball handler and a defensive liability, it’s unclear if the two elite scorers would be able to coexist.
There’s also the challenge of playing in the Western Conference. LeBron has played in the East his entire career, and it’s a big reason he’s reached eight straight NBA Finals. The level of competition is much higher in the West, making for a more strenuous regular season as well as a more challenging postseason.
If LeBron decides to stay in the East, oddsmakers have Philadelphia as a slight favorite over staying in Cleveland. In February, a Philly-based company purchased three billboards in downtown Cleveland featuring phrases like “Complete The Process” and “#PhillyWantsLeBron.”
One thing is certain: nothing shakes up the league like LeBron free agency, and it’s coming either this year or next so get ready to hear about it non-stop.