Landing two superstars like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony is tough to pull off in fantasy basketball, let alone the real life NBA. But, according to ESPN reports, the Los Angeles Lakers are aiming to add the pair when they hit the free-agent market in 2014.
Adding James and Anthony – or just one of the two – alongside Kobe Bryant would push the Lakers back among the NBA title contenders in two seasons. As for the upcoming 2013-14 campaign, Los Angeles is currently +10,000 to win the championship after losing its bid to keep Dwight Howard, who instead signed with the Houston Rockets.
According to Michael Stewart, an oddsmaker with CarbonSports.ag, and Aron Black of Bet365.com who were kind enough to humor our request for some hypothetical odds, Los Angeles would be priced between +120 and +140 to win the NBA Championship in 2014-15 and have a season-win total between 62.5 and 65.5 if it were able to sign both LeBron and Melo next summer.
"The popularity alone would see masses backing them as we saw this past season with Miami," says Black. "They were easily the most well-backed team I've seen in recent times as a low price favorite. So to put them on the Lakers would create a futures bet buzz like we've never seen."
Having just James play with Bryant would see the Lakers priced between EVEN and +220 to claim the title and have the win total between 57.5 and 70.5. Black, who thinks the LeBron-Kobe combo could win 70-plus games, believes taking Antony out of the mix would be the most beneficial to the Lakers, due to the demands James and Bryant have in the offense.
"LeBron and Kobe would offer the best scoring and playmaking combo that could be
had in the league to have all starters having big numbers, as well as getting
probably 50 points a night out of them and 10-15 dimes," says Black. "They also pose the biggest
Adding only Anthony with Kobe would put L.A. between +350 and +500 to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy and bump the win total into the 54.5.to 60.5 range. The big question oddsmakers would have to answer for this scenario is where is LeBron at this point and how good is his team?
Los Angeles is still up in the air on Bryant’s status for next season, coming off an Achilles injury, and is set to pay him $30.5 million – the most of any player in the league - in the final year of his contract. Bryant told the media he would like to play two or three more seasons and seems interested in taking a pay cut in order to boost his chances of a sixth NBA Championship ring. By losing out on Howard this summer and Kobe's deal coming to a close, the Lakers have only two players on
contract for the 2014-15 season: Steve Nash and Robert Sacre.
If Los Angeles decides to cut ties with Bryant and brings in both James and Anthony, the Lakers would see an estimated price around +175 to +200 to win the title in 2014-15 and have a season-win total around 57.5, according to Stewart.