Westgate gives OKC Thunder 60 to 1 odds to win 2019 NBA Title as Paul George FA factors

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK- MARCH 8: The OKC Thunder look on during the game against the Phoenix Suns on March 8, 2018 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch Sr./NBAE via Getty Images)
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK- MARCH 8: The OKC Thunder look on during the game against the Phoenix Suns on March 8, 2018 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch Sr./NBAE via Getty Images) /

Vegas ranks the OKC Thunder tied in 10th with the Utah Jazz to win the 2019 championship.

Like the masses the OKC Thunder sit at home watching the 2018 NBA Finals. So, it’s a little odd to be discussing who’ll win next season’s NBA championship. Still, Westgate released their odds for next season.

Right away, it’s important to note these odds were projected knowing the draft and offseason free agency are yet to occur. Those events will greatly affect the next round of odds.

Yet, the most important factor is LeBron James. As per ESPN Ben Fawkes article Westgate oddsmaker John Murray offered insight.

"“When you have LeBron in free agency, you have to be careful,” Westgate SuperBook oddsmaker John Murray told ESPN. “You’ve got Philadelphia, Miami, the Lakers and even Houston as potential destinations [outside of Cleveland]. We cut all of those teams’ odds down, and we’ll raise back up the teams he doesn’t sign with.”"

Westgate SuperBook odds for NBA 2019 Title:

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LeBron Factor:

The big factor is obviously LeBron James in terms of whether he’ll stay in Cleveland or bolt for another squad. Based on the teams Westgate places in the upper ranks it seems they think James will join the 76ers. Odd choice given the current Colangeo-gate mess.

Most pundits assume James will look to align with a squad with existing talents primed to be a contender. The two teams most mentioned in this regard are the 76ers or Rockets. Others theorize he’ll consider the Lakers and possibly the Clippers based on location.

If the former is true then teams like the Pelicans and yes even the OKC Thunder have to be considered, though highly unlikely. Given the salary cap situation few teams have the available space to sign James outright. And, of those only the Sixers have the existing talent to offer.

Banana Boat Anyone?

Of course there is the theory James wants to bring the banana boat boys all together to win a title. In this scenario Houston may be the most logical destination with Chris Paul likely to re-sign there. Likewise, with Dwyane Wade back in Miami this is also considered a potential landing spot. Westgate reflected this by virtue of the Heat in a fifth place tie with the Lakers.

Once again the OKC Thunder factor in this mix because Carmelo Anthony is employed here. Again, only the 76ers could make this equation occur organically. Any of the other squads would need to complete a sign and trade or take a flame thrower to their rosters.

As far as the OKC Thunder are concerned the LeBron factor shouldn’t be viewed as an option. However, his movement is relevant especially if he tries to bring Anthony onto his squad. In that scenario it affords the Thunder an opportunity to get his $27.9M off the books.

OKC Thunder 60 to 1 odds:

More from Thunderous Intentions

Nine teams are ranked ahead of the OKC Thunder. Similarly to the LeBron factor OKC are likely ranked here with the uncertainty of Paul George. More specifically, whether he’ll re-sign with OKC and what the roster will look like if he does.

The team benefiting from the Paul George sweepstakes with Westgate is the Lakers. Fawkes article touches on this being a factor in the odds.

"“We like some of the younger players on the Lakers and think there’s a pretty good chance they get Paul George,” Murray said. “They’d draw a lot of action and probably would have the third-best odds in the West behind Houston and Golden State if LeBron went there. Without him, they’d probably be in the 60-1 to 80-1 range.”"

Odds will change after free agency:

It’s important to not jump to conclusions here as most assuredly the draft, free agency and LeBron’s landing spot will affect the next round of Westgate odds.  For example the Houston Rockets have three of their starting five players hitting free agency. The presumption is they’ll match any Clint Capela offer and re-sign Chris Paul. Yet, what would losing Trevor Ariza and signing no other key assets do to their odds?

Next: 'Moreyball' new math doesn't add up in Paul George pursuit

Likewise if the OKC Thunder retain Paul George how will that affect the OKC Thunder odds?  No doubt we’ll learn that answer after the draft and early stages of free agency.