No reason to panic, Lakers fans.
Whether free agent Lamar Odom stays in Los Angeles or leaves for the Miami Heat, Las Vegas bookmakers said Monday they don’t anticipate anything that would drop the Lakers from their perch as preseason favorites to win the NBA championship — again.
Getting [forward Ron] Artest is better than losing Lamar," said Jay Rood, director of the MGM/Mirage Race and Sports Book. The Lakers signed free agent Artest this month. "The core of that team still is what it is, and as long as you keep Kobe [Bryant] and [Coach] Phil [Jackson], nothing changes."
At MGM/Mirage, the Lakers are an 8-5 favorite to win the NBA title, followed by the Boston Celtics, and recent addition Rasheed Wallace, at 3-1, and the Cleveland Cavaliers, with Shaquille O’Neal joining LeBron James, at nearly 4-1. The Orlando Magic are 13-2 and the San Antonio Spurs are 7-1.
"We didn’t change anything when they got Artest, and if they lose Odom it’ll just be a wash," said Jay Kornegay, executive director of the Las Vegas Hilton’s Race and Sports book, which has the Lakers as the 2-1 favorite over the 3-1 Cavaliers and 5-1 Celtics.
"Odom’s a component, but he’s not a star. As that team has already shown, if they lose someone, they’ll find someone else."