In addition to contacting James, Irving has also pushed the Mavericks to acquire James in a blockbuster trade, per Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report.
Irving is an unrestricted free agent this offseason, although a return to the Mavs seems very possible. As for James, he can’t hit free agency until after next season, as he’s under contract with the Los Angeles Lakers through next year (earning $46,698,737) and then he has a player option worth $50,434,636 in 2024-25.
If James is going to land in Dallas, it would have to be via a trade or a buyout from Los Angeles.
While it seems like a long shot, bets have been flooding in on the Mavs as James’ next team ever since reports surfaced of a possible Irving-James reunion in Dallas, one sportsbook reports.
Dallas is the Favorite to Trade for LeBron James
Multiple sportsbooks now list the Mavericks as the favorites to acquire James this offseason, including SportsBetting.ag and BetOnline. To be clear, this doesn’t include the possibility that James stays with the Lakers.
“This morning, we just started getting hammered on the Mavericks for LeBron’s next team,” said Robert Cooper, the sportsbook manager for SportsBetting.ag. “Of course, some of the sharper bettors had already seen these reports and decided to take positions at 10/1 odds and 8/1 odds, before we finally pulled them off the board at 3/1.”
The book has re-opened the odds for James’ next team, and Dallas is the favorite (+120) to land James in a trade.
With that said, Cooper stated that he doesn’t think there’s “really much of a chance that LeBron leaves L.A.” ahead of this upcoming season.
Which Teams Have the Next-Best Odds?
The New York Knicks opened as the favorites to land James this summer, but there hasn’t been a single bet placed on the Knicks, according to Cooper. The Knicks have since dropped to the fifth-best odds (8/1) to acquire James this offseason.
Here’s a look at the complete odds for James’ next team (if he leaves the Lakers):
|Golden State Warriors||5/1|
|New York Knicks||8/1|
|Los Angeles Clippers||9/1|
Despite being 38 years old, James was still incredibly productive in his 20th NBA season. He averaged 28.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 6.8 assists, 2.2 threes and 0.9 steals, while shooting 50% from the field, 32.1% from three-point range and 76.8% from the free-throw line. He led the Lakers to the Western Conference Finals, where they were eliminated by the Denver Nuggets.
For more on this upcoming NBA offseason, check out this ranking of the top available free agents and what several NBA executives had to say about the 2023 free-agent class.