NBA 2015 title odds: LeBron, Cavaliers surface as favorites

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NBA 2015 title odds: LeBron, Cavaliers surface as favorites
Miami Heat's LeBron James talks with the media during a press conference at the AmericanAirlines Arena on June 17, 2014, in Miami. (Mike Stocker/Sun Sentinel/MCT via Getty Images)
Miami Heat's LeBron James talks with the media during a press conference at the AmericanAirlines Arena on June 17, 2014, in Miami. (Charles Trainor Jr./Miami Herald/MCT via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 15: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat in the locker room before Game Five of the 2014 NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center on June 15, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 23: Guard Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls watches from the bench against the Miami Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena on February 23, 2014 in Miami, Florida.The Heat defeated the Bulls 93-79. NOTE TO USER: User Expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images Liscense Agreement. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 11: Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in November, smiles as he practices his shooting before the Bulls take on the Atlanta Hawks at the United Center on February 11, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
San Antonio Spurs Tony Parker and Boris Diaw celebrate a point during Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat, June 15, 2014 in San Antonio,Texas. The Spurs defeat the Miami Heat 107-84 in Game 5 of the NBA Finals to win the best of seven series 4-1. AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 15: Boris Diaw #33 of the San Antonio Spurs poses for a portrait with the Larry O'Brien Trophy after defeating the Miami Heat in Game Five of the 2014 NBA Finals on June 15, 2014 at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 16: Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers directs his teammates as he brings the ball up the court against the Brooklyn Nets at The Quicken Loans Arena on April 16, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 15: Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs raises his hands after the Big Win against the Miami Heat during Game Five of the 2014 NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center on June 15, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 15: Manu Ginobili #20, Tony Parker #9, Patty Mills #8 and Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs celebrate on the bench in the closing minutes of Game Five of the 2014 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat at the AT&T Center on June 15, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer (5) pulls a rebound down away from Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat (4) during the second half of their first round playoff game played at the Verizon Center in Washington, Friday, Apr. 25, 2014. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 10: Anthony Morrow #3 of the New Orleans Pelicans shoots against the Denver Nuggets on March 10, 2014 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - May 31: Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder stands on the court during a game against the San Antonio Spurs in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at the Chesapeake Arena on May 31, 2014 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 31: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder blocks a shot by Manu Ginobili #20 of the San Antonio Spurs in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals during the 2014 NBA playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on may 31, 2014 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
PORTLAND, OR - MAY 2: Dwight Howard #12 of the Houston Rockets stands on the court during a game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs on May 2, 2014 at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images)
PORTLAND, OR - MAY 2: A close up shot of James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets in Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Portland Trail Blazers during the 2014 NBA Playoffs on May 2, 2014 at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - MAY 30: Lance Stephenson #1 of the Indiana Pacers looks on in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat during the 2014 NBA Playoffs on May 30, 2014 in Miami, Fl. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 14: Kevin Love #42 of the Minnesota Timberwolves during a game against the Golden State Warriors on April 14, 2014 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
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By Sam Spiegelman
XN Sports

Now that the major dominoes in NBA free agency have fallen, Bovada has released its updated odds for the 2015 championship. Oh, and how things have changed.

With LeBron James returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team has overtaken the defending champion San Antonio Spurs as the favorites for 2015. The return of Derrick Rose and addition of Pau Gasol have certainly impacted the Chicago Bulls' chances, while the departure of Chandler Parsons has seemingly had no effect on the Houston Rockets.

Here are the updated championship odds:

Cleveland Cavaliers, 7-2

With LeBron back in the fold, the Cavaliers are now the favorites to take home the Larry O'Brien trophy next season. So are we discounting the Spurs' run just a month ago? Or are we overstating the impact James will have in Cleveland?

Maybe Vegas is counting on the Cavs acquiring Kevin Love, otherwise I don't believe James' return to Cleveland should make the Cavs the favorite over San Antonio. If James returned to Miami, I'd still consider the Spurs the favorite.

San Antonio Spurs, 9-2

As I mentioned earlier, the Spurs should be the favorite to begin the 2014-15 season. The team remained in tact this summer, retaining Boris Diaw and Patty Mills.

Maintaining that depth was essential, as the team-wide play gave the Spurs the edge over Miami in the Finals. No team will be as deep as San Antonio, and no coach is better at managing that talent like Gregg Popovich.

Chicago Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder, 13-2

Rose has yet to prove he's back his former MVP self yet, but already the Bulls are even with the Thunder in terms of a championship-caliber team? Oh no.

Rose does have the ability to shake up the Eastern Conference, and the addition of Gasol is an upgrade over Carlos Boozer, but I still consider the Bulls a project until Rose proves he's 100 percent.

Oklahoma City hasn't made any major roster moves. It lost Thabo Sefolosha and Caron Butler, and added Anthony Morrow. Big deal. This team will only go as far as Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook will take them. It fits in well with the third-best odds.

Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, 10-1

How are the Rockets this high up? Houston lost Omer Asik, Jeremy Lin, and Chandler Parsons, then whiffed on Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron. Now it's Dwight Howard, James Harden and a water machine. They're bound to regress.

The Clippers are still missing a certain piece. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan are a great core, but none seem able to take over. That always seems to bite them in the back when it comes to the playoffs.

Golden State Warriors, Indiana Pacers, 20-1

Can Golden State pull off a deal for Love? Can Indiana retain Lance Stephenson, or even deal for Rajon Rondo? The offseason is far from over for these two teams.

The Warriors have a new coach, so it remains to be seen how Steve Kerr changes the team's dynamic, for better or for worse. And it remains to be seen if the team adds any more talent.

Indiana could take some major steps back if it loses Stephenson or deals Roy Hibbert. Right now, though, we can say they're definitely not capable of being the No. 1 team in the East.

Miami Heat, 25-1

The LeBron-less Era in South Beach has begun, and now Bosh is the face of the Heat along with a deteriorating Dwyane Wade and role players like Danny Granger and Josh McRoberts.

It's a long fall from great for the defending Eastern Conference champs, and while they should be in the top half of the conference standings in 2014-15, their championships odds are truly slim to none.

Notable: With 'Melo back, the Knicks have the same title shot as the Mavericks, Trailblazers, and Wizards. For the Knicks and Wiz, it's a product of being in the East. The Mavs are much better with Parsons, while the Trailblazers were on the cusp a season ago.

RELATED LINKS

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5 Potential landing spots for Carlos Boozer

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Lance being Lance, Stephenson bolts Indiana for Charlotte Hornets

Atlanta Hawks grant us undervalued lesson in free agency

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