Following the 2018 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers are now -325 favorites to sign LeBron James, according to Bovada. The Cleveland Cavaliers (+325), Houston Rockets (+750), Philadelphia 76ers (+1000), and Boston Celtics (+1800) round out the top five.
Since the end of the 2018 NBA Finals in which the Cavaliers were swept by the Golden State Warriors, the Lakers have slowly become the favorites. At the time, Los Angeles trailed Houston and was tied with Philadelphia as James’ next destination if he left Cleveland.
Over the last couple of weeks, there have been numerous reports which suggest the Lakers are the favorites to sign James beginning on July 1. As the 33-year-old’s family will be a huge factor in his upcoming decision, he reportedly ‘does not like Houston as a city.’
Although the Rockets have Chris Paul, James Harden, and Clint Capela, they do not necessarily have a clear path to creating the cap space to sign James.
As a result, James signing with a team other than the Lakers or Cavaliers would reportedly be a shocking decision.
After trading D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets, Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka took their first step in creating two max contract slots.
Eight months later at the deadline, the Lakers reached their goal by trading Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. to the Cavaliers.
By signing with the Lakers, James would have an opportunity to possibly team up with Paul George, who reportedly has some desire to play for his hometown team.
While a team with two All-Star players and a young core would be competitive, there is a possibility of forming a big three in Los Angeles with a Kawhi Leonard trade.
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