The Cavs made every effort at the trade deadline to convince LeBron James to stay, trading away half of their team — mostly ineffective veterans — for younger, more athletic players who actually care about playing defense.
Remains to be seen whether that's enough to convince The King to stay in Cleveland. If it's not, the Cavs are going to be in truly awful shape with a bunch of bloated contracts still on the books.
Bovada released its odds Friday, the day after the trade deadline, regarding where LeBron is for Game 1 next season. The Rockets lead the pack, while the Sixers are tied for fifth.
Here's the list:
• Rockets: 5/2
• Cavs: 11/4
• Lakers: 5/1
• Warriors: 6/1
• Sixers: 10/1
• Pistons: 10/1
• Timberwolves: 12/1
• Spurs: 14/1
• Bucks: 15/1
• Knicks: 16/1
Some thoughts on these odds ...
It's pretty silly to give the Sixers the same odds of landing LeBron as the Pistons. Yeah, Detroit has Blake Griffin now, but it also lacks max cap space and is not even close to an appealing destination. At that point, why wouldn't LeBron just stay in Cleveland?
The Sixers remain an intriguing, logical option because of their cap space and young talent. Only a few teams will have the cap space this summer to hand out a max contract. The Sixers, Lakers, Bulls and Hawks are four of them, and you can bet the Bulls and Hawks will not be spending money, nor are they attractive.
As for the Lakers, the only way LeBron is going there is if they can also sign another star to a max deal — which, at this point, pretty much means Paul George. There's been reported interest from George for years of returning home to L.A., and carving out cap space for a second max deal this summer was certainly why the Lakers traded Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance to Cleveland on Thursday. But wouldn't you think the Cavs would have to have a good idea that LeBron is *not* going to the Lakers to even consider making that trade? If he does end up going there, the Cavs are going to look incredibly bad.
The Rockets could free up enough money to sign LeBron only if they're somehow able to get off of Ryan Anderson's $20 million annual contract, which at this point is close to impossible. Still, Houston makes the most sense because it's such an appealing place to play.
The Warriors thing isn't happening, I'd bet my life savings on that. LeBron has absolutely nothing to gain by going there. The same could have been said for Kevin Durant, but he went there to chase the championship that had eluded him his entire career. LeBron's already won multiple times. Plus, the Warriors would have to get rid of Klay Thompson to make it happen and he might be a better fit for them anyway.
Perhaps the odds change as the season wears on, but as of now this is a good price if you believe LeBron is really coming to the Sixers. They should probably have shorter odds than both the Warriors and Lakers.