In 2014, Cleveland Cavaliers fans ditched their “Quitness” T-shirts and welcomed NBA superstar and Ohio native LeBron James back to Cleveland with open arms in what surely would have been a boon for then-hypothetical Ohio sports betting sites.
James, the No. 1 pick of the Cavaliers in 2003, left the team for the Miami Heat as a free agent in the summer of 2010. After four seasons and a pair of championships with the Heat, James returned to the Cavaliers in 2014 and stayed for four seasons, which included the franchise’s first-ever NBA title in 2016.
James has spent the last four seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, winning another NBA title in 2020. At age 37, what are the odds James returns to Cleveland for a second time and even retires as a Cavalier?
Utilizing research, BetOhio.com looked at news and rumors to create hypothetical odds of James being a Cleveland Cavalier against at any point during the rest of his NBA career.
If you’re a fan of the Cleveland Cavaliers, the odds are in your favor.
While Ohio betting apps won't offer wagering opportunities just yet on James' future, it's never too early to speculate on if the future Hall of Famer will return home.
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There are a few factors weighing into the odds.
First and foremost, James is entering his 20th season and agreed to a two-year, $97.1 million contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers through the 2024-2025 season in September, per NBA.com.
Furthermore, James, in an interview with Sports Illustrated for a story that was published in August, stated his desire to play for the same NBA team as his son, Bronny James. Bronny, who will turn 18 on Thursday, currently attends Sierra Canyon School in Los Angeles and will not be draft eligible until 2024.
Is Bronny going to be a lottery pick in less than two years? That’s obviously up for discussion among draft experts. If he is, the numbers would indicate the Cavaliers would be a distant longshot of landing the younger James.
Currently at BetMGM Ohio, the Cavaliers are around the 13th favorite to win the NBA title this season at +3300 and the sixth favorite to capture an Eastern Conference championship at +1600.
The Cavaliers, the second favorite to win the Central Division behind the Milwaukee Bucks, also have a win total of 46.5, according to BetMGM, which lists the Cavaliers as a modest favorite (-275) to make the playoffs next season.
Of course, this is just for next season and anything can happen for a team to fall from playoff hopeful to the lottery, where Bronny could be available in 2024.
The Cavaliers are far from rebuilding, though, after winning 44 games last season (their first winning season since James left) and acquiring three-time all-star Donovan Mitchell in a trade last month.
There’s also the possibility of James, who has always shown support for all things Cleveland, to sign a 1-day contract at the end of his career to retire as a Cavalier, though he obviously wouldn’t see the floor.
In recent days, James has been bullish on his desire to bring an expansion team to Las Vegas, so maybe he and Bronny's team-up could happen in Sin City.
Don’t forget to check with BetOhio.com for the best Ohio sportsbook promo codes when sports betting launches in the state on New Year’s Day.