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Market Bets LeBron Will Be A Knick?

Wednesday, 7 Jul 2010 | 2:57 PM ET
LeBron James
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LeBron James

As the media world speculates on where LeBron James will land, the market, at least, seems to be leaning towards the New York Knicks.

As of 2:45 p.m., shares of Madison Square Garden Inc., which includes the Knicks and the MSG Network, were up 1.21 percent to $20.51, but the bigger story was in the options pits.

There’s been twice as many contracts sold to people betting that MSG stock will rise to $22.50 by the end of the month as compared to people betting it will fall to $20 by July’s end. (Follow MSG here)

“There’s absolutely no justification for this activity other than the LeBron James play,” said Jon Najarian, co-founder of Trade Monster and a CNBC contributor. “People will most likely continue to speculate into tomorrow’s announcement.”

The story is not only seen in the ratio of bulls to bears, it’s also seen in the volatility of the call and put contracts. On an average day, about 600 calls and puts are traded on MSG . More than 10,000 calls and puts have been traded today.

Volatility is also brisk on shares of the stock itself. MSG stock typically trades about 200,000 shares a day. By 2:45 p.m. ET, almost 582,000 shares had been traded.

While it’s hard to say exactly how much James will make for the franchise if he signs with the team, CNBC calculated last week that the Knicks could potentially gross $35.3 million off the James investment in Year one, while only having to pay him $16.5 million.

More on Courting LeBron:

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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