The NBA trade deadline came and passed last week. As expected, some contending teams made trades to increase their chances of winning an NBA Championship. Despite the trades that were made, the Brooklyn Nets are still the favorites to win the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy at +225, according to BetOnline.
Instead of making blockbuster trades to improve their odds, the Nets went out and signed two NBA veterans who were recently bought out: Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge.
While both Griffin and Aldridge are beyond their respective primes, they’re able to be effective players as the pressure isn’t on them to succeed. Instead, that goes to the ‘Big 3’ of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden. Very few teams will be able to keep up with a trio that talented. Griffin and Aldridge just need to fill in the holes and do their jobs as asked.
Updated NBA Championship Odds
Odds via BetOnline as of Wednesday, March 31
- Brooklyn Nets +225
- Los Angeles Lakers +290
- Los Angeles Clippers +575
- Utah Jazz +850
- Milwaukee Bucks +900
- Philadelphia 76ers +1200
- Denver Nuggets +2000
- Miami Heat +2800
- Phoenix Suns +2800
- Boston Celtics +3300
Full NBA Championship odds list available here.
Lakers Hold Second-Best NBA Championship Odds
Early on in the season, sportsbooks were projecting the Los Angeles Lakers to be back-to-back NBA Champions. However, the Nets began dominating with their ‘superteam’ and the Lakers lost Anthony Davis and LeBron James for extended periods. All of these scenarios combined to shift the Lakers’ odds from +285 to +290 as of March 30. It’s not a major change, but it still shows a shift in the NBA.
James is expected to be out for as many as six weeks, while Davis has no timetable for his return. Still, if the duo can get healthy before the playoffs, the Lakers could be championship contenders again. The team has also signed Andre Drummond after being bought out from Cleveland. That gives the Lakers options for whenever Davis isn’t on the floor.
Drummond averaged 17.5/13.5/2.6 this season with the Cavaliers.
Raptors Odds Fall Off a Cliff
At the start of March, the Toronto Raptors were listed at +4000 to win the NBA Championship. While they were far from being favorites, they showed an improvement after a slow start to the 2020-21 NBA Season. Before March 3, the Raptors were 17-17 and competing for a playoff spot. Since then, Toronto has gone 1-12 in March, which includes three losses to the cellar-dwelling Detroit Pistons.
Their NBA Championship odds now sit at +10000.
The team traded away Norman Powell at the deadline and was close to trading away Kyle Lowry too, indicating that they probably won’t compete for the playoffs this season. However, it will be interesting to see which direction the team takes in the offseason.
Nuggets See NBA Championship Odds Boost
While a lot of attention is on teams like the Nets and Lakers when it comes to NBA Championship odds, the Denver Nuggets have been quietly climbing up the odds list. On March 3, their odds sat at +2800, but they’ve since improved to +2000. The Nuggets went 11-3 in March and sit fifth-place in the Western Conference.
A big part of the Nuggets’ odds movement has been the play of Nikola Jokic. The Serbian center averaged 27.1/11.4/8.4 in March, catapulting him into the conversation of NBA MVP as LeBron James and Joel Embiid are out with injuries. The Nuggets also showed that they were serious about chasing an NBA Championship after trading for Aaron Gordon and JaVale McGee at the trade deadline. Whether or not these moves paid off remains to be seen as the season progresses.