With how trade talks between the Lakers and Pelicans went prior to the trade deadline, it seemed as if Anthony Davis was destined to be headed anywhere but out west. When rumors spread about how the Pelicans were not willing to trade Davis to the Lakers, it didn’t look good (even though the rumors were false).
But in a few weeks, when NBA trades can be become legal and be executed, Anthony Davis will be taking his considerable talents to Los Angeles. He cost a pretty penny (Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, and three first-round picks) but the Lakers got their man.
Prior to the trade being announced, many sportsbooks were already giving the Lakers pretty good odds to win the NBA Finals next season. Some even made the Lakers the favorite. In the wake of the trade announcement, they are likely the favorite at even more books—but with much shorter odds.
Before the announcement, BetOnline.ag considered the Lakers one of the top teams in the NBA next season at +700. In the days since the Lakers odds have been dropped down to +350. The team with the next best odds is the Milwaukee Bucks (+700) followed by the Houston Rockets (+900).
That is a significant difference between the best and second-best odds. Does that mean the Lakers are a sure thing and you should bet on them? Of course, now! But if you are going to bet on them, now may be the time to do so in case the Lakers succeed in landing another star player.
Ever since Kyrie Irving called LeBron James during the season to clear the air, oddsmakers have given the Lakers decent odds to land Irving. According to the rumor mill, despite all the talk about Irving and the Nets or Knicks, James is trying to recruit Irving to the Lakers.
Other rumors have Irving really wanting to play with Davis. If that is indeed true, then the Lakers may be able to sign him even though they only have $23.7 million in cap space. They are also rumored to be interested in Kemba Walker, but they will not likely get him for $23.7 million either.
Okay—so they are going to have some talent on the roster, but they did last year, too. When LeBron James added a veteran to the already assembled collection of raw, young talent, oddsmakers quickly got behind the Lakers.
Last year, on July 9, the Lakers were one of the favorites to win it all at +580. That isn’t as good as where they are now, but it pegged them as one of the teams to beat—which they weren’t.
Merely adding a star player does not make a mediocre team a contender, especially when adding him meant losing other good players. Yes, the Lakers aren’t just adding him to a roster of scrubs. They have LeBron James. But James is not getting any younger (and is starting to show his age).
Betting on the Lakers right now is waste of money. Wait and see when/if they add someone else and even then, wait until they are in the midst of their early-season slump. It is going to take time for the new roster to gel and for everyone to figure out their roles.
But while they do so, they are going to lose a few games, and the Lakers odds will get longer.
Then you bet on them.