Todd W. Schneider

Real-time NBA Championship Odds Before and After LeBron James's Announcement

LeBron James announced that he’s going back to Cleveland, and immediately the Cavaliers’ chances of winning the 2014/15 NBA championship increased from 10% to around 18%.

Of course that 10% already had built in some likelihood that James would choose to play for the Cavaliers next season. Before Cleveland was considered a threat to land LeBron, their championship odds were around 2%, so the 10% Cleveland odds immediately before LeBron’s decision perhaps reflected market expectations that LeBron had a 50% chance of choosing Cleveland: 0.5 * 0.18 + 0.5 * 0.02 = 0.1

The Houston Rockets were initially the other big winners of The Decision Part II. Chris Bosh had been expected to join the Rockets if LeBron left Miami, and so the Rockets’ championship odds increased from 5% to around 15% immediately after LeBron’s announcement. Unfortunately for Houston, though, it later came out that Bosh was returning to the Miami Heat, and Houston’s championship odds subsequently declined back to around 6%

UPDATED: some folks have asked how the Indiana Pacers’ championship odds changed in the wake of Paul George’s serious leg injury. The Pacers had been around 4.4% to win the championship before George got hurt, but they’ve since declined to 2.5%: