The anticipation of the LeBron James free agency landing escalated as high as the Seinfeld series finale.
As many reports began to speculate over the last few days, James ultimately chose to cement his legacy with the Miami Heat.
“This fall I am going to take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat,” James said in an interview with ESPN. “I feel like it’s going to give me the best opportunity to win and to win now and to win in the future also. And not just win regular season games, but championships.”
James will be flanked by superstar Dwyane Wade - the face of the Heat franchise - and power forward Chris Bosh, who is expected to join Miami in a sign-and-trade. James, Bosh and Wade went No. 1, 4 and 5 in the 2003 NBA Draft.
After the Finals concluded in mid-June, the Las Vegas Sports Consultants released odds to win the NBA championship for the 2010-11 season.
At that time, the LVSC afforded Miami 25/1 odds of winning the title. Once Wade and Bosh were confirmed to be with the Heat next season and rumors swirled that James would be joining them, the odds dropped to 6/1.
“We will likely send out Miami as the favorite at 4/5 on Friday,” said Sean Van Patten of the LVSC.
To put other teams’ odds in perspective, after the Lakers won their 17th NBA title this year the LVSC released them as the favorite at 7/2. As the free agency frenzy got underway and Los Angeles wasn’t a player for any marquee names the team odds moved to 6/1. The LVSC said the Lake Show will be offered at 5/1 on Friday.
Orlando and Boston will be the No. 3 and 4 favorites with odds of 10/1. These two squads had odds of 5/1 in June.
The LVSC has not released team win totals for next season but Van Patten foresees the Heat carrying a number as high as 66 or 67. He mentioned the Lakers incurred a number of 62.5 last year so the win total will be at least that high.
“You can’t stop all three guys every night, you’ve got to figure at least two of them each night are going to be on,” said Van Patten.
Oddsmakers are going to have trouble keeping lines adjusted to the public; the casual bettor will be looking to back the Heat every night.
“Once or twice a week you might see a 13 or 14 in the NBA spreads but with the Heat you might see lines every night in the 15-point range,” Van Patten added. “And when they’re facing terrible teams you might see some 20s out there. It’s going to be ridiculous.”