Following LeBron James agreeing to a four-year, $154 million contract, the Los Angeles Lakers (9/2) have the third-best odds to win the 2019 NBA Finals, according to the Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas.
They were tied with the Boston Celtics (4/1), who now are second behind the defending champion Golden State Warriors (2/3). The Houston Rockets (13/2) and Philadelphia 76ers (14/1) round out the top five.
Armed with a young core and an ability to sign two free agents to a max contract, Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka established a two-year window in free agency, but all eyes were on James.
While the 33-year-old received interest from the Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers, the Lakers’ on-court product has a chance to catch up to the off-the-court opportunities.
In addition to adding James, the Lakers have agreed to re-sign Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and sign Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee, and Rajon Rondo. The last of which was made possible after the Lakers renounced the rights to Julius Randle, making him an unrestricted free agent.
Although the Warriors have won three championships in four consecutive NBA Finals, the Lakers appear poised to challenge them over the next four seasons. Of course, the Warriors adding DeMarcus Cousins further adds to their embarrassment of riches.
But with James’ arrival, the Lakers have re-established themselves as a free-agent destination once again and there will players who take less to join the storied franchise.
While the four-time MVP has given the Lakers time, things can quickly change heading into the 2018-19 NBA season. As it currently stands, it will be James surrounded by a young core, but Kawhi Leonard has maintained he wants the San Antonio Spurs to trade him to his hometown.
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