The Oklahoma City Thunder’s Paul George and New Orleans Pelicans’ DeMarcus Cousins are both set to become unrestricted free agents this summer – assuming George doesn’t exercise his $20.7 million player option. And he probably won’t, as George will fetch more than that on the open market or by signing a longer-term deal to return to Oklahoma City.
George and Cousins are terrific players, All-Stars. However, they aren’t LeBron James, who is making a case for greatest ever. His pending free agency will be the story of the summer, with players able to sign with clubs on July 6. Naturally, you can wager on the odds where LeBron lands for the 2018/19 season and returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers is the +125 favorite at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Would LeBron actually risk leaving Ohio again after all the damage to his brand that the “Decision” brought? Many believe James could leave again because he already has delivered on his promise to bring Cleveland a championship. He’s a god there no matter what happens going forward. Plus, James might want to build his global brand, and where better to do that than in Hollywood? James landing with the Los Angeles Lakers is at +375 odds. The Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers are the same price.
LeBron has two mansions in the Los Angeles area, but him buying a mansion is like you or I buying a stick of gum. The Rockets already are a championship-caliber team so LeBron could go there and win a title as soon as next season. Plus, his good buddy is Rockets point guard Chris Paul, who also is set for free agency but is fully expected to re-sign and that’s why he wasn’t mentioned above with George and Cousins. The Lakers’ dream scenario is to sign both James and George.
Perhaps LeBron wants to stay in the East so he can avoid the Golden State Warriors until the NBA Finals every year? The 76ers would make some sense as they are a powerhouse in the making with young stars in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
The other betting options are the Warriors (+1000), Los Angeles Clippers (+1200) or a return to the Miami Heat (+1600), but none of those are considered realistic.
It’s probably going to come down to how well the Cavs do in these playoffs. If they are eliminated in the Eastern Conference Finals by Boston then that makes it more likely James leaves. If the Cavs reach the NBA Finals, it’s hard to picture LeBron leaving. The Cavs also can offer LeBron the most money, although he’s already on the way to becoming a billionaire.
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