LeBron James has decided to take his considerable talents to the West Coast and ply his trade as a LA Laker after signing a four-year, $154 million deal. Let’s check out what this does for the Lakers and how it will affect the LA’s odds to win it all next season.
Legendary Player Joins Legendary Franchise
It just makes all the sense in the world when you think about it. One site that thought about it several weeks ago was Sportsbook Review, a site dedicated to sports gambling and revealing the latest odds from the world’s best online sportsbooks, and predicted exactly why LeBron would be joining the Lakers before he made it public.
In 2014, LeBron returned to the Cavs after a dalliance with a more attractive suitor from South Beach, because after four years he realized the grass may have been more lush in Miami but not nearly as familiar. However, his wanderlust would not be abated despite four trips to the NBA Finals as a member of the Cavaliers, and he decided on another cosmopolitan destination that more aptly fit the glitz, glamour, and flamboyance that is LeBron: Los Angeles. As a parting gift for his dowdy first-love, he reminded the folks in Cleveland that he brought them a ring and that was something they could both always cherish.
This departure was unlike the first. The Cleveland faithful were not riddled with as much heartbreak and angst as the first time around because once a spouse leaves it’s no longer a shock when he does it again. LeBron is now walking amongst a pantheon of NBA giants, joining Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Kareem, Magic, Shaq and Kobe to name a few who donned the Lakers’ purple and gold. The King will be 34 in December and this could very well be the last team he plays for but it won’t be the last deal he signs. Regardless where he ultimately ends his playing career, LeBron will return to the lovin’ arms of the Cavaliers and sign a ceremonial one-day contract with his true love. Until then, this next chapter of his career will be fascinating to watch and may indeed bring a championship banner back to the Lakers.
Pretender to Contender Overnight
Now that Los Angeles has wooed LeBron into a Lakers’ uniform, the work is far from finished for Magic Johnson and the LA brass. You may recall that when LeBron returned to Cleveland after garnering a pair of NBA titles during his four years in Miami that the Cavaliers were coming off a 33-49 record and had not whiffed the postseason since James’ departure. The Lakers are in remarkably similar circumstances after their 35-47 campaign last year but with up-and-comers like Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram there is a foundation on which to build.
However, unlike the team that LeBron joined in Cleveland, there is currently no Kyrie Irving on the Lakers. That, of course, could change rapidly with San Antonio dangling Kawhi Leonard but that could also necessitate that one or more of LA’s talented youngsters gets shipped in the deal, which would still make the Lakers more formidable with Leonard in the mix. And let’s not forget that LeBron’s presence will most assuredly reap benefits for the Lakers in the future as there will be other illustrious free agent talents who will be wooed by the King’s siren call.
Nevertheless, the landscape has shifted drastically with LeBron to LA as the top three spots in the West next season are virtually locked up before a game has even been played with Golden State, Houston and now Los Angeles as the conference’s premier powers. But LeBron’s departure from Cleveland has also reverberated in the Eastern Conference, all but assuring that the Celtics, 76ers, and to a lesser extent the Raptors, will be locks for the top spots in the East.
As of this writing, the Lakers have vaulted from also-rans to the second favorites behind Golden State (+130) to win the 2019 NBA championship at future odds of +400. Unfortunately, our Memphis Grizzlies are the penultimate underdogs at odds of +75000, above only the Atlanta Hawks at +100000.
Check out all the 2019 NBA conference and championship odds over at Sportsbook Review and if you’ve got a hunch, bet a bunch!