Lost between the NBA Finals and JR Smith memes is the release of Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook’s odds for next year’s title.
As you can see, there is a common theme running throughout the list. Other than the Golden State Warriors, many of the title favorites are contenders to acquire LeBron James in free agency this summer.
The Golden State Warriors, on track to win their third title in four years, are the obvious favorites to claim the championship next year. Coming in after the Warriors are the Houston Rockets, who took the Warriors to seven games in the Western Conference Finals. There have been some rumors of LeBron to the Rockets, but even without him they are arguably the second best team in the league.
After the Rockets is where things get interesting. Teams like the Philadelphia 76ers (third) and Los Angeles Lakers (fifth) clearly have inflated odds due to the potential signing of James. On the flip side, James’ current team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, is seen as the team with only the eighth-best odds to win next season’s championship. Eighth!
Of course there are a ton of other offseason storylines including Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, and the upcoming draft that will affect the current odds, but, LBJ’s move will have by far the biggest impact on the entire futures market.
I caught up with Jeff Sherman, the Westgate LV SuperBook manager, to dig a little deeper into their thought process behind the odds. My first question was in regards to the Rockets, and if they were tied for second because he views them as the second best team in the league, or because of the LeBron factor, or both?
"“Both”, Sherman replied."
My second Rockets question was whether or not the Rockets would overtake the Warriors if LeBron did go there, and what would happen to the odds?
"“If the Rockets got LeBron and were able to keep Chris Paul and Clint Capela, they would be the title favorites, slightly over the Warriors.”"
I had to throw in a Lakers question (my pick for where he ends up) so I asked what happens if LeBron went to the Lakers, but they did not add another star, what would the odds be then?
"“If LeBron goes to the Lakers, he most likely wouldn’t be the only one. But if LeBron went to the Lakers alone, they would probably fall to 10/1 range. If it was LeBron and George, around 8/1.”"
The last and most important team Sherman spoke to me about was the 76ers.
"“Our odds take the 76ers into account as LeBron’s most likely landing spot.”"
Sherman did say the Cavs immediately would jump to around 12/1 if James did comeback. To me, the fishy opening line on the Cavs tells me everything I need to know about LeBron’s offseason plans. Just remember, the Wiseguys always know first.