Lakers Lead Odds to Land LeBron James After 2018 NBA Draft; Heat Fall off

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 22, 2018

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 14: Lonzo Ball #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers listens to LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers after the game at Quicken Loans Arena on December 14, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavaliers defeated the Lakers 121-112. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles Lakers are the odds-on favorites to sign LeBron James this offseason.

According to OddsShark, the Lakers lead the pack with 4-13 odds, and the Cleveland Cavaliers are second with 13-4 odds. The Miami Heat, where James spent four seasons, look like a long shot, sporting 40-1 odds.

Despite the fact they haven't reached the playoffs since 2013, the Lakers appear to be the most logical destination for James.

Los Angeles is projected to have the most salary cap space ($61.8 million) of any NBA team, per Spotrac, which allows the Lakers to splurge on two marquee free agents this summer.

Depending on how hard general manager Rob Pelinka wants to push the matter, he may be able to eventually break the San Antonio Spurs' resolve on Kawhi Leonard as well. ESPN's Ramona Shelburne spoke to a team source who said the Spurs "basically shut the door on us" when the Lakers made contact with San Antonio about a Leonard trade.

The Cavs' position as the second favorites might be the most surprising development from OddsShark's revised list. Cleveland sits ahead of the Houston Rockets (15-2) and Philadelphia 76ers (10-1) despite having no clear path to seriously challenge the Golden State Warriors.

Collin Sexton, whom the Cavaliers selected eighth overall in the draft, is one of the team's few real trade assets, but general manager Koby Altman said Friday "every expectation is to keep him," per Cleveland.com's Joe Vardon.

Perhaps James' ties to the Northeast Ohio region, along with the Cavs' four straight trips to the NBA Finals, would be enough to keep him in Cleveland, even without any significant upgrades to the roster.