LeBron James’ Next Team Odds: Lakers & Cavaliers Lead The Pack

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LeBron James’ Next Team Odds: Lakers & Cavaliers Lead The Pack

After last season’s Western Conference Finals appearance, LeBron James entered the 2024 campaign with championship aspirations. However, the Los Angeles Lakers recently fell in the first round to the reigning champion Denver Nuggets, and uncertainty now swirls around James’ future.

He can become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, thus granting him the choice to sign with any team. So for those looking for another angle to NBA betting, which franchises do sportsbooks see as the favorites to roster the four-time champion to begin next season?

LeBron James’ next team odds

There is an important detail to note for this prop on DraftKings, which is being offered in Michigan and Colorado. It specifically states that the bet applies to James’ “Next regular season minute played to be for which NBA team? (2024-25 only).”

That’s not the same as whether he switches teams. For example, if James opens the season with Los Angeles but is subsequently traded to New York after a few weeks, then the winning bets would be those placed on the Lakers. If James does not play a minute next season, for whatever reason, the bets would also be voided.

This wrinkle also makes the bet statistical-based, which is approved in places like Michigan. Bets based on transactions are not approved in as many legal markets, though Colorado is one of those.

Next TeamOdds via DraftKings
Los Angeles Lakers-500
Cleveland Cavaliers+1200
Philadelphia 76ers+1600
New York Knicks+2500
Miami Heat+2500
Golden State Warriors+2500
Dallas Mavericks+2500
Phoenix Suns+4000
Oklahoma City Thunder+4000
Denver Nuggets+4500
San Antonio Spurs4500

Teams favored to roster LeBron James

The following teams headline the potential landing spots for LeBron James.

Los Angeles Lakers

Per DraftKings, by far the most probable event is for James to be wearing a Lakers jersey on opening night. In fact, Los Angeles is a sizable favorite over the field to retain James’ services. 

The California lifestyle combined with the franchise’s legendary past form a strong pull for the veteran. James is a basketball history lover, so further etching his name in the record book of this iconic team may strongly appeal to him. For example, James only needs to score 1,150 more points to pass George Mikan and sit 10th all time in total points for the Lakers. 

Meanwhile, the basketball fit remains solid. Anthony Davis is a dominant two-way force who complements James’ strengths nicely. The Lakers need an All-Star level guard and must tweak the surrounding role players, but they have enough draft capital and allure to potentially remedy the situation. Essentially, an ideal offseason from general manager Rob Pelinka and a bit of luck could morph this team into a true contender. 

Perhaps the 39-year-old is tired of uprooting his life every few years and moving to a different city too. It’s yet another factor that could persuade James to stay.

Lakers fire head coach Darvin Ham

Finally, Los Angeles fired Darvin Ham after the early playoff exit. James seemed to sour on Ham’s philosophies and tendency to sit back and watch as the offense spiraled into a disorganized mess. The coaching change could appease James, and it’s highly likely that he will have a say in who replaces Ham.

Overall, online sportsbooks expect James to suit up for Los Angeles on opening night, and there’s plenty of context to support this belief. 

Cleveland Cavaliers

Return of the king? The Cavaliers selected James first overall in the 2003 draft, and they won a championship with him at the helm during the 2016 season. Cleveland holds plenty of memories for the Akron native, and he may desire to finish his career where it all started. 

Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell would alleviate the offensive creation burden that James has shouldered in recent years. Given that he turns 40 next season, it’s imperative that his minutes and usage shrink in order to stay relatively fresh for a deep postseason run. 

Defensively, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen provide elite interior defense. Due to their brilliance, Cleveland allowed the fifth lowest paint field goal percentage this regular season. Los Angeles was bounced in the first round partly due to James lagging as a weak side rim protector when Denver pulled Davis away from the paint. That is much less likely to be an issue with Mobley and Allen on the roster. 

The Cavaliers also reside in the inferior Eastern Conference, which makes a championship run far easier. In summation, James’ love of Ohio along with the reasonable basketball fit have the Cavaliers holding the second shortest odds to acquire him. 

Philadelphia 76ers

Unlike Los Angeles and Cleveland, James has no powerful off-court tie to Philadelphia. However, it’s a sublime basketball partnership for the veteran. Tyrese Maxey and Joel Embiid both have the ability to carry the offense via scoring and playmaking, thus allowing James to take a backseat. They would arguably be his best pair of teammates ever, although Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh certainly have a case. 

The 76ers also have oodles of cap space to completely transform the roster around Embiid and Maxey. Should James join the squad, Philadelphia can mold the depth chart to enhance its new star trio. In this scenario, James and the 76ers would immediately ascend to the top tier of championship contenders. Bringing a historic franchise its first title since 1983 would be a significant legacy booster for him. If a title is James’ main desire, then the 76ers are a premier destination. 

Finally, it’s worth noting that his son Bronny James is in the 2024 draft, which could impact LeBron James’ landing spot this summer.