This post has been corrected. See below for details.
A trio of gambling sites peg the Lakers as a solid 12-1 to favorite to claim the 2013 title, with only four teams listed as better picks.
It’s a typical sportsbook technique to gauge a season ahead: take a popular team, rely heavily on last season’s finish, assume its general manager — in this case Mitch Kupchak — plugs in some holes in the off season to keep them as a serious contender next season.
Never mind that the Lakers had only the sixth-best regular season record in 2011-12, finished in the middle of the pack in offensive and defensive statistics, and went 5-7 in the playoffs.
In addition, Kobe Bryant turns 34 in August and he won’t get much time off this summer while playing for the U.S. Olympic team. The Lakers presumably want to use Pau Gasol as their chief trading chip this summer to land some new talent, but the team figures to remain significantly over the salary cap, hampering their roster changes.
Nevertheless, here are the favorites to win the title next June, according to Sportsbooks.com, GamingToday.com and BetUSA.ag:
2013 NBA championship odds
--Miami Heat 5-2
--Oklahoma City Thunder 5-2
--Chicago Bulls 5-1
--San Antonio Spurs 7-1
--Dallas Mavericks 15-1
--Indiana Pacers 20-1
--Boston Celtics 20-1
[For the record: June 18, 12:35 p.m.: An earlier version of this article incorrectly listed the Lakers' 2013 NBA championship odds at the end of the post as 7-1.]