NBA Trade Deadline Analysis and Betting Odds Impact
The NBA trade deadline is officially behind us, and there were plenty of moving parts. Let’s take a look at some of these moves and how they impacted NBA Championship odds.
Top 10 NBA Championship odds before the trade deadline:
Los Angeles Lakers +250
Milwaukee Bucks +300
Los Angeles Clippers +400
Philadelphia 76ers +1000
Houston Rockets +1200
Dallas Mavericks +1600
Denver Nuggets +1600
Utah Jazz +1600
Boston Celtics +2000
Toronto Raptors +2500
Miami Heat +2500
Top 10 NBA Championship odds after the trade deadline:
Los Angeles Lakers +275
Milwaukee Bucks +300
Los Angeles Clippers +350
Houston Rockets +1400
Philadelphia 76ers +1400
Miami Heat +1600
Utah Jazz +1600
Boston Celtics +2000
Denver Nuggets +2000
Toronto Raptors +2000
Los Angeles Lakers: They were very quiet at the deadline. Darren Collison remains a priority for them IF he comes out of retirement. We’re not concerned about the lack of moves at the deadline, but we are concerned about their long-term health and depth as these are key for extended playoff runs. Anthony Davis has been notoriously injury-prone throughout his career and the Lakers simply lack the depth to make up for a significant injury.
Milwaukee Bucks: Like the Lakers, the Bucks were quiet at the trade deadline. After all, they own the best record in the NBA (43-7) and their point margin sits at a league-best 8.3. Reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is dominating the league once again, averaging 30 points, 13.2 rebounds and 5.8 assists and 1.1 blocks per game. The big question is can their recipe win in the big stage? Last season, the Bucks finished with a 60-22 record, by far the best record in the Eastern Conference, but got bounced in the second round by the defending champions, the Toronto Raptors. A historic pace in the regular season doesn’t translate into a championship, but if all their key components are healthy, they should make a trip to the NBA Finals this season.
Los Angeles Clippers: The Clippers traded Maurice Harkless, a prospect, their 2020 first-round pick and 2021 second-round pick to the Knicks and they received Marcus Morris in return. Morris is likely the most impactful player that any team traded for today, as he’s a wing player that can spread the floor and play defense. Morris is having a career year, averaging 19.6 points per game. He’s shooting a career-best 43% from beyond the arc this season, which is an unsustainable rate for the veteran given that he’s a career 37% shooter from three. Ultimately, the Clippers got back the impact player they wanted and can shoulder some defensive responsibilities once they face the top competition in the playoffs. In addition to this, the Clippers also gain more depth and that’s very key here. Paul George is healthy now but has missed what feels like half the season already and Kawhi Leonard needs to be managed in order to save him for the playoffs given his injury history. This injury risk is baked into their current odds (+350). Given the star power, depth and playoff experience from key players in their roster, I view the Clippers as the best value bet to win the championship this season.
Houston Rockets: The Rockets traded Clint Capela and Nene Hilario and received Robert Covington at the trade deadline. Covington is one of the better three and D players in the entire league and the Rockets have gone full small ball. Ultimately, that will be their demise, as they will likely have to go through the Lakers AND the Clippers in the playoffs. If both of those teams are healthy, the Rockets don’t have a realistic path to getting to the NBA Finals. They’ll remain a fun watch in the regular season as they pick teams apart with their run and gun offense.
Philadelphia 76ers: The Sixers traded draft picks for Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III. They also traded James Ennis away to the Orlando Magic. Getting Burks is a plus for this team and they represent a good value at +1400 to win the championship. Frankly, out of all the teams in the Eastern Conference, the Sixers are the team best equipped to deal with the Milwaukee Bucks. I love their defense – they’re ranked fifth in overall team defensive efficiency this season. Unfortunately, their stars don’t have great injury histories (specifically Joel Embiid) and their three-point shooting ranks inside the bottom 10 in the league. In fact, after the underwhelming season they’ve had (31-20; sixth in the Eastern Conference), their championship odds have dropped a good bit despite their addition of a solid bench player. We remain mostly skeptical despite liking some of their profile.
Miami Heat: The Heat traded Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters and James Johnson to the Memphis Grizzlies for Andre Iguodala, Solomon Hill and Jae Crowder. Iguodala has missed half of this season as he was simply buying time for Memphis to ultimately trade him to a contender. And at this point, it’s fair to call the Heat contenders. Their NBA championship odds jumped from +2500 before yesterday’s trade deadline to +1600 after the deadline. While it’s a big swing and the Heat all of a sudden have the makings of a deep team that can make some serious noise in the playoffs, we remain somewhat skeptical. They certainly have the coaching pedigree and the depth, but Jimmy Butler is their lone “superstar.” Meanwhile, the Clippers have two legitimate superstars and plenty of depth. Ultimately, we view the Heat as a legitimate threat in the Eastern Conference and a better value bet to win it all than the Sixers at +1400.
Utah Jazz: They stood pat at the deadline. Their path to the Finals is going to be too difficult for them to win it all.
Boston Celtics: Another “contender” that didn’t do anything at the trade deadline. The Celtics have a fun core, but they lack true star power.
Denver Nuggets: Their biggest move at the deadline was trading for Jordan McRae, though they had to get rid of Malik Beasley in the process. McRae provides shooting off the bench but he’s not a big enough piece to improve Denver’s odds to win it all.
Toronto Raptors: The defending champs aren’t getting a lot of respect from Vegas, checking in at +2000 to win the title. After losing Kawhi Leonard to the Clippers, the Raptors have gone an impressive 37-14 this season – good for second in the Eastern Conference. They boast the third highest point margin (6.4) in the entire league, behind only the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks. They’ll need to be fully healthy to have a shot. They might not have enough gas in the tank come playoff time as their starters are playing very heavy minutes on a nightly basis.
Memphis Grizzlies: The Grizzlies front office has been on a ridiculous tear, which extended to the trade deadline. They were able to move Andre Iguodala and got Justise Winslow and Dion Waiters in return. They also added Gorgui Dieng by trading newly acquired James Johnson. Waiters won’t play for the Grizzlies but Dieng will and he should provide very solid minutes as a backup center. Winslow remains without a timetable to return as he’s played just 11 games this season due to a back injury. Winslow is just 23 and if he can finally get healthy, he’ll be a great addition to a fun, young roster. The Grizzlies have no shot at winning the title this season but they’re going to compete for the eight seed in the Western Conference and their odds to win it all in the coming years should only increase.