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NBA Free Agency: Lakers now odds-on favorites to sign LeBron James

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As per usual, it feels like Las Vegas knows something we don’t regarding LeBron James, NBA free agency and the Lakers.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Los Angeles Lakers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017-2018 season is officially behind us. Welcome, everyone, to NBA rumors season. The Los Angeles Lakers open up this magic part of the NBA calendar as the favorites to add the offseason’s biggest prize, LeBron James, according to the latest Las Vegas odds.

Bovada.lv released updated odds under the question of “What team will LeBron James play for Game 1 of the 2018-2019 Season?” and the Lakers take the top spot at 7/4. They are closely followed by the Philadelphia 76ers (11/5) and Houston Rockets (5/2), with James’ current team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, landing in the No. 4 spot at 5/1. The Boston Celtics are not in the top five, so that’s cool to see.

The first thing that should be pointed out is that the Lakers are a very public team, meaning they garner more bets than just about any other NBA team. This might be pushing those odds a little higher than they maybe should be.

It’s also worth noting that Vegas seems pretty convinced LeBron will be departing. As I’ve said all along, all the Lakers can hope for is a shot — a mere opportunity to get LeBron in a room with Magic Johnson. From there, anything can happen. They don’t get that shot if LeBron is set on staying in Cleveland.

The Lakers have turned into Las Vegas’ darlings this year, having already seen their chances at winning a title next season rise as well. Again, this might just be an attempt to drum up excitement about the team and squeeze a few more bets out of the fan base, but the optimism surrounding the franchise is also not without reason.

Not bad for a team coming off a 35-win season.