Last week during the NBA Finals, I wrote about how the 2019 NBA title odds indicated LeBron James was going to leave Cleveland. It was easy to infer after teams like the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers had catapulted to the top of the list due to the “LeBron factor.”
The odds have now been updated since the Cleveland Cavaliers were swept by the Golden State Warriors. The Lakers have jumped all the way to 10/1 for the 2019 title at the Westgate LV SuperBook. On the flip side, the Cavs have dropped even further down from 30/1 to 50/1.
And yes, they even created odds for where the King will sign, so you can bet on that as well. Here are the updated odds:
So why L.A.? Let’s look at a few reasons why the Lakers make sense for LeBron, and why the odds have shifted:
- Family: According to former NBA All-Star Gary Payton, LeBron will send his son, LeBron James Jr. (Bronny), to Sierra Canyon School in Los Angeles in the fall.
Payton told Sheena Marie of Black Sports Online that James will make the decision next year based on what’s best for his family.
“Anything could happen. People don’t look at everything. (LeBron James’) son just committed to Sierra Canyon which is in the valley of L.A. That’s where his son is going to go to school [with] Scottie Pippen’s son and Kenyon Martin’s son. So, that’s a move that they’re going to make … if everybody looks at it with a son at that age, you don’t want to be away from him during that period of time. During the time that we’re having, basketball is school time. I think that (Bronny) needs a father during that time and that’s it. I don’t think LeBron is that type of parent, I think he wants to be around his son a lot and see his son play a lot.”
This has not been confirmed yet, and Sierra Canyon reps said it was news to them, but you can see how this “rumor” makes things interesting.
- Lifestyle: Lifestyle goes hand in hand with family. James owns not one but two mansions in Los Angeles. Celebrities enjoy the anonymity they get in LA compared to other cities. And oh yeah, the weather isn’t too bad either. Dwyane Wade recently had this to say on Fox Sports Radio’sChris Mannix and Caron Butler Show in regards to the King’s top priority moving forward:
“I don’t think it’s a basketball thing. I mean obviously he’s shown this year he can get to the Finals no matter what the circumstances are. I don’t really think, for him, the basketball decision of saying, ‘Oh, let me go team up with three all-stars,’ I think at this point in his life it’s more so of a lifestyle thing of, ‘Where my family is going to be the most comfortable’ or ‘where I’m going be the most happiest at.’ Because basketball-wise, he’s so great he can bring along and take along whomever.”
- Entertainment/ Business Mogul: James’ company UNINTERRUPTED is headquartered in Hollywood. LeBron is a highly successful entrepreneur who wants to own an NBA franchise. Yes, He can do that from anywhere, but being in L.A. has its benefits. Take LeBron’s entertainment company SpringHill Entertainment for instance. Can you imagine how much more it would thrive if he was in L.A.? And, this quote from Kevin Durant about his business ventures keeps bringing me back to why it makes sense business wise for LeBron to be in California:
ESPN: How much smarter of a businessman are you than you were, say, two years ago?
DURANT: I have mentors like Ron Conway [early-stage Google and PayPal investor] and Ben Horowitz [co-founder of Silicon Valley venture capital fund Andreessen Horowitz] and good friendships with guys like Chris Lyons [chief of staff for Andreessen Horowitz]. I mean, you just go to dinner with these guys, hang out with them. You start to meet these types of people at games. It’s a little easier being here than saying, “Let’s meet up when I come in from Oklahoma.”
LeBron himself mentioned in the Game 4 post-game presser that he was only sixth on the Forbes world’s highest paid athletes list, so you know it’s on his mind. Again, if he does want to become a billionaire mogul, L.A. is the place to retire into the sunset. And, who knows, maybe Space Jam 2 is next?
- Magic Johnson connection: Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson is a business powerhouse, so who better to mentor LeBron when it comes to future business deals? So, LeBron wants to own an NBA team? Who better to help him get there than Magic, who owns a piece of the Los Angeles Dodgers through his Guggenheim Partners connection. Magic has influence off the basketball court that LeBron could benefit from.
- Roster he can mold, possibly bring a friend: The Lakers have multiple young and talented pieces, and Magic and Rob Pelinka have been planning for this summer for over a year. Lebron usually brings a friend wherever he goes, and the Lakers have the ability to make that happen. While Paul George has been the name most linked to LeBron, Marc Stein brought up the possibility of Lebron’s close friend Chris Paul being in the mix to go to the Lakers:
“Don’t discount the idea that James could try to bring Paul with him to a team that can afford two superstars, such as the Lakers, because he and Paul really are that close.”
At the end of the day, I don’t think LeBron has decided where he will go yet. He hasn’t even met with these teams or listened to their pitches. But, that won’t stop me from putting down a bet on LeBron to the Lakers! Either way, these odds will continue to change with every rumor we hear, but I really believe that the Wise Guys in Vegas always know when something is happening first. Whether it is L.A., Philly, or a dark horse team, he looks to be leaving this summer.