The Vegas betting market has responded to recent comments made by LeBron James regarding his future in the NBA. Opening a betting market centered around whether James will retire or return for his 21st season, BetOnline now offers odds that imply a 12% chance that this year might have been the last for the King.
For those firmly in the belief that LeBron James will return for another season, placing a bet would require wagering $1,000 for a potential $100 win. On the flip side, those who believe the King may indeed abdicate his throne can potentially earn a significant payout with odds standing at +550 if he does retire.
Will LeBron James Retire Before the Start of the 2023-2024 season?
(Odds via BetOnline.ag)
This market's introduction comes after LeBron's latest comments during his post-game press conference and a subsequent interview with ESPN following the Los Angeles Lakers' Game 4 loss to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals. The defeat marked the end of LeBron's 20th NBA season and the first time the four-time MVP has hinted at potential retirement.
James, who turns 39 this December, expressed his doubts about continuing to play, telling reporters he has "a lot to think about." He confirmed these sentiments when ESPN inquired about his statement, responding candidly that he needs to consider whether he wants to continue to play.
According to the New York Post, sources close to James revealed that he felt the effects of the travel and physicality during the playoffs. Memories of challenging finals matchups resurfaced during their games against Golden State, leading to speculation about his possible retirement.
These doubts cast a shadow over the final year of LeBron's contract with the Lakers, worth $46.7 million, and his player option for the following season, worth $50.4 million. However, James has previously expressed his desire to play alongside his eldest son, Bronny James, in the NBA before retiring. Bronny, a senior guard at Sierra Canyon, has just committed to playing at USC.
In the midst of this uncertainty, James' contemporary and long-time friend, Carmelo Anthony, has announced his retirement after 19 seasons in the NBA. The announcement was not a surprise to LeBron, who unveiled after Game 4 that he had been instrumental in crafting Anthony's retirement video.
While LeBron's future remains uncertain, he will undergo medical testing to evaluate a right foot injury he sustained during the season. The outcome of this could also play a role in his decision to retire or return for his 21st season.
For those who interpret LeBron's recent comments as a sign of potential separation from his current team, BetOnline has also created a betting market predicting where LeBron might land if he decides to leave the Lakers.
LeBron James' Next Team IF not the Los Angeles Lakers?
New York Knicks +300
Philadelphia 76ers +300
Los Angeles Clippers +500
Cleveland Cavaliers +700
Phoenix Suns +800
Golden State Warriors +900
Dallas Mavericks 10-to-1
Miami Heat 10-to-1
Sacramento Kings 12-to-1
Milwaukee Bucks 18-to-1
Chicago Bulls 20-to-1
Boston Celtics 25-to-1
(Odds via BetOnline.ag. No action if LeBron returns to the Lakers for the 2023-2024 NBA Season.)
As speculation continues to swirl, fans, analysts, and oddsmakers alike will be keenly observing LeBron's next move. For now, all we can do is wait as the King weighs his options and decides on the future of his illustrious career.