After a flurry of early activity on the NBA free-agency front, the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors remain strong -185 favorites (bet $185 to win $100) on the 2019 NBA championship odds to complete a three-peat at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. One of the most surprising moves of the offseason so far came Monday when DeMarcus Cousins signed a one-year deal with the Warriors for the $5.3 million midlevel exception.
The Los Angeles Lakers inking LeBron James on Sunday previously had a major impact on their odds, making them the +460 second choice (bet $100 to win $460) to take home their first championship since 2010. James has since gotten Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson and JaVale McGee to join him in Los Angeles, with Cousins essentially replacing the latter in Oakland as a fifth All-Star for the defending champs.
The big question remaining is, who else will become a Laker and help James in his quest for a fourth NBA title? There is still speculation that Kawhi Leonard could be traded from the San Antonio Spurs to the Lakers at some point, although that deal could be complicated considering he will be a free agent after next season. Leonard has publicly stated his desire to play for the Lakers and could just sign with them as a free agent in the summer of 2019.
Meanwhile, the Spurs have engaged in trade talks with a few teams and do not want to get nothing for him if he does not want to be there and walks.
The Boston Celtics are another possible landing spot for Leonard, and they look to be the team to beat in the Eastern Conference now that James is no longer playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Celtics are +510 on the odds to win the NBA championship and will get a couple healthy All-Stars back in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. Irving is set to become a free agent in 2020, so there is a sense of urgency for Boston to win now.
The Philadelphia 76ers are the other title contenders in the East at +1425 to win it all, sitting right behind the West’s Houston Rockets (+800) on the betting board. Houston and Philadelphia had each hoped to lure James with a more ready-made roster to compete for a championship before he decided to go Hollywood instead.