Nobody knows what LeBron James is going to do. But when the four-time NBA MVP does finally decide where he’s going to play basketball next season, you can be sure the foundations of the NBA will shake – especially if King James moves his kingdom out of South Beach.
Oddsmakers have had their fun gauging just where James will play next since he opted out of the final year on his contract, setting his current club – the Miami Heat – as a -800 favorite to retain the best player on the planet.
James is said to be seeking a maximum salary that could net him more than $22.2 million. And there are only a handful of teams out there that can throw this type of cash at him, including Miami, the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Utah and Orlando.
But what if LeBron didn’t care about the money? God knows he doesn’t need it What if he wanted to add more rings to his fingers and join an already established NBA power? What if he wanted to resurrect a dying franchise or smooth things over in Cleveland? What if LeBron signed with your favorite team?
The oddsmakers at CarbonSports.ag have cooked up some fictional NBA title odds just for this question, providing Covers with futures prices for all 30 NBA teams if they somehow signed LeBron James this summer.
Find out how big an impact LeBron could have on the current NBA odds:
Miami Heat (Current 7/2, With LeBron 7/2)
Since the oddsmakers think James will stay put, they are protecting themselves and leaving Miami as a overall favorite to win the NBA title next season.
Oklahoma City Thunder (Current 7/1, With LeBron 8/5)
Who takes the last shot: LeBron or Durant?
Answer: Russell Westbrook doesn’t pass to either.
“The two best players playing together, this might not be low enough,” says Michael Stewart, an oddsmaker for CarbonSports.ag.
San Antonio Spurs (Current 6/1, With LeBron 4/1)
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
“LeBron is a bad fit for Coach Pop's offense and team concepts,” says Stewart.
Los Angeles Clippers (Current 10/1, With LeBron 4/1)
Every night would be a dunk contest between LeBron and Blake Griffin.
“I don't like this fit either and (James) and Chris Paul would each like to dominate the ball, especially in crunch time,” says Stewart.
Indiana Pacers (Current 20/1, With LeBron 5/2)
“Perimeter defense with LeBron and Paul George is scary,” Stewart says. “Jordan and Pippen comparisons.”
Chicago Bulls (Current 10/1, With LeBron 3/1)
LeBron would definitely take the burden off Derrick Rose’s knees and make for one nasty frontcourt with Noah and Gibson.
Golden State Warriors (Current 25/1, With LeBron 5/1)
With LeBron driving and dumping to Steph Curry, the Warriors other players may not need to step inside the 3-point arc.
Houston Rockets (Current 20/1, With LeBron 8/1)
Didn’t we already see something like this in Los Angeles? Something tells me it wouldn’t work out…
“The West is still a very good conference so the Rockets’ chances increase, but they still have work to do,” says Stewart.
Portland Trail Blazers (Current 40/1, With LeBron 10/1)
How could you not love the value on the Blazers with LeBron, Aldridge and Lillard on the court at the same time. A younger, fresher version of the “Big 3”.
Washington Wizards (Current 40/1, With LeBron 5/1)
Washington proved to be a team on the rise this postseason. And LeBron is pretty close with President Obama.
“Beal and Wall in the backcourt with LeBron, Gortat and Nene upfront. Scary starting five, Stewart says.
Brooklyn Nets (Current 60/1, With LeBron 20/1)
A team with Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson, old-as-the-hills Kevin Garnett and LeBron on the floor couldn’t be all that bad could they?
Memphis Grizzlies (Current 50/1, With LeBron 15/1)
LeBron makes a big splash but we’re still talking about competing in the Western Conference night after night.
Dallas Mavericks (Current 45/1, With LeBron 15/1)
The Mavericks are set as 30/1 long shots to sign LeBron this summer with plenty of Cuban cash to go around.
Denver Nuggets (Current 60/1, With LeBron 20/1)
LeBron and Peyton Manning could become good buddies and trade stories about whose team sucked more with a championship on the line.
Toronto Raptors (Current 60/1, With LeBron 15/1)
Toronto was able to stop Kyle Lowry from leaving. Maybe they can convince LeBron to give up those hot and steamy Miami nights for the bitter Canadian winter.
New York Knicks (Current 50/1, With LeBron 10/1)
The Zen Master would have to have a direct line to the universe to hold on to Carmelo and somehow add LeBron to the Big Apple.
“If he's teamed with Carmelo, it’s a very interesting tandem,” says Stewart. “Still too top heavy of a team, in my opinion.”
Minnesota Timberwolves (Current 100/1, With LeBron 15/1)
Nothing would keep Kevin Love from jumping ship like adding King James. Rubio-to-James alley-oops are a highlight reel wet dream.
New Orleans Pelicans (Current 50/1, With LeBron 10/1)
“LeBron and Anthony Davis - the best young big man in the game today, in my opinion - would be very fun to watch,” says Stewart.
Los Angeles Lakers (Current 60/1, With LeBron 10/1)
Los Angeles has all the cap room in the world and the glitz and glam that draws in big-name free agents.
“Pretty much a one-man show,” says Stewart. “Kobe is way beyond his prime.”
Boston Celtics (Current 100/1, With LeBron 10/1)
This is a huge jump in odds. James would basically be going back to the situation he was in with the Cavs.
Cleveland Cavaliers (Current 40/1, With LeBron 6/1)
Cleveland was the second overall favorite to land LeBron this summer (+600). The homecoming would team James with Kyrie Irving and No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins.
“They have all the parts if they were to land LeBron,” says Stewart.
Phoenix Suns (Current 60/1, With LeBron 10/1)
Phoenix damn near made the playoffs with a rag-tag bunch of players. There is talk of James and some other big-name free agents making their way to the desert this summer.
“Rumors are him and Carmelo playing together in Phoenix. Very exciting prospects,” says Stewart.
Charlotte Hornets (Current 75/1, With LeBron 10/1)
Could that quick glance at Michael Jordan during the NBA Playoffs been a “wink, wink, nod, nod” to the Hornets owner? Probably not.
“He'll never play for MJ,” Stewart says.
Atlanta Hawks (Current 75/1, With LeBron 6/1)
“The Hawks have a lot of quality players,” says Stewart. “If they land this star, who knows what their potential could be.”
Utah Jazz (Current 250/1, With LeBron 20/1)
We just don’t see Salt Lake City being a “LeBron” kind of town, even though the Jazz are one of the few teams with max space on their books.
“Zero chance he's going to Salt Lake City,” says Stewart. “Would kill his brand.”
Sacramento Kings (Current 250/1, With LeBron 20/1)
We’re pretty sure LeBron would punch Rudy “Green Light” Gay in the face 10 games into the season.
Detroit Pistons (Current 250/1, With LeBron 15/1)
It would all be on LeBron’s broad shoulders in Motown. He’d have to average 45 a game to keep them competitive.
Orlando Magic (Current 150/1, With LeBron 15/1)
LeBron wouldn’t even have to change his driver’s license. The Magic have all the cap room in the world to lure King James to the Magic Kingdom.
Philadelphia 76ers (Current 600/1, With LeBron 20/1)
A look at the potential drop in futures odds for the Sixers – if they signed James – shows just how much impact he has on the league overall.
“Lots of young, interesting talent, but they're far from competing even with LeBron,” says Stewart.
Milwaukee Bucks (Current 300/1, With LeBron 25/1)
“Bucks are a mess, even more so now that (Jason) Kidd is their coach,” Stewart says.
Where do you think LeBron James is signing this summer and how will it impact the NBA futures? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.