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Bookmakers Predict LeBron James’s 2018-19 Team

June 11, 2018

With the Cleveland Cavaliers losing the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, LeBron James might consider transferring to a different team as he becomes a free agent during the offseason.

James’s decision is expected with the Cavalier’s lack of quality in secondary scoring and defense play. With members like J.R. Smith who made a major blunder at the end of Game 1 during the Finals, the Cavaliers may not be a LeBron James’s 2018-19 team.

There is no public statement from James as to whether he will continue playing with his home team or not. But James said that his family will be a major factor in his decision.

James said:

The one thing that I’ve always done is considered, obviously, my family. Understanding especially where my boys are at this point in their age. They were a lot younger the last time I made a decision like this four years ago. I’ve got a teenage boy, a preteen and a little girl that wasn’t around as well. So sitting down and considering everything, my family is a huge part of whatever I’ll decide to do in my career, and it will continue to be that. So I don’t have an answer for you right now as far as that.

According to Kevin O’ Conner, a writer from the Ringer who has sources within the league, James will only listen to pitches from four teams. He is also expected to pick a contract worth US$35 million or more per season. Bookmakers like BetOnline.ag have set their odds on which of the four teams will likely see the King as part of its roster.

| Related: Odds: Warriors and Raptors Will Play in NBA Finals 2018

L.A. Lakers

As of this writing, BetOnline.ag sets the Lakers with the highest possible odds of getting James on board. Sportsbooks gave the team +200 odds that it can successfully convince the king to join the Lakers’ ranks.

Some of the reasons for James to join the Lakers have more to do with his personal life, especially considering that he owns a house in Los Angeles. In addition, one of the best NBA players sees Hollywood in his future. James currently has a production company already set up.

Apart from LeBron’s personal life, the Lakers have the money to give James the $35 million contract that he is looking for. They also have enough to sign up Paul George, another All-Star player, to the team.

Houston Rockets

The Rockets delivered an incredible performance in the Western Conference this season. The team made the Warriors sweat during the finals of the conference when Houston won Game Four within Golden State territory. Despite the Rocket’s loss against Golden State, James could see potential in teaming with Houston and form a Big 3 with Chris Paul and James Harden.

While the team’s +220 odds from BetOnline.ag indicate that Houston has a good chance of closing a deal with James, the team’s budget says otherwise. To meet James contract, Rockets will need to rework their roster to get the right amount of room. On the other hand, the team can work out a deal with the Cavs to recruit James including a sign-and-trade option that includes both Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Staying with the Cavs is the best possible option for James in terms of both financial and sentimental reasons. But for BetOnline.ag, Cavs has +350 odds of keeping James.

Cleveland has the budget to Lebron’s asking salary of US$ 102 million. The team can even give James a five-year max deal contract that could be worth more than US$205 million.

Another reason for James to stay with the Cavaliers is his legacy in Cleveland. He can finish his NBA career with the Cavaliers who drafted him. More than that, Cleveland is his hometown. There is a significant chance that James will want to play for his home team and avoid the stress of the free agency.

Philadelphia 76ers

Last month, bookmakers have Philadelphia as the favorite team to recruit James in the offseason. Fast forward to today, BetOnline.ag sets the team at +350 odds to successfully recruit James.

Apart from being one of the four teams James is willing to hear from, the 76ers has room in their books to meet his asking max salary.  Philadelphia has good salary-cap flexibility; they can get US$25 million from renouncing all of the team’s free agents like Amir Johnson and JJ Redick. Also by trading Jerryd Bayless, the Sixers can reach US$33.8 million in cap space which is well within reach of James’ contract.

If he joins the Sixers next season, James will be on the court with aspiring NBA stars, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. James’s mentorship of the two can help the two young players develop their skills. For long-term goals, the Sixers can help James reach the finals with the likes of Simmons and Embiid.

The three rival teams provide enough good reasons for James to move out of Cleveland. On the other hand, building a legacy and staying home might just be reason enough for James to stick with the Cavaliers.

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