A flurry of significant player transactions dominated the NBA offseason. A lot of All-Stars have new homes. Here's how the odds played out in the betting market and where they stand now.
Nearly a dozen current or former NBA All-Stars have a new home for the upcoming 2017-18 season. This past summer proved one of the wildest and league-altering concerning player movements in decades. That is the consequence of the Warriors and Cavaliers clashing for the championship a record three times in a row. Franchises are desperate, players disgruntled, and fans demanding a run at a title. It’s why they play the game. It’s worth the gamble. For NBA bettors, the host of player transactions means new projections and volatile markets. Let’s explore the most significant trades (and one free-agent signing) and see how the odds are shaking out.Jimmy Butler, Timberwolves
The Timberwolves kicked off the trading spree with a draft-day deal for the Bulls small forward Butler. The three-time All-Star came over for backcourt duo Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine. The move provides a young, budding squad, starring Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns, veteran leadership and an elite scoring outlet.
For many, the team is an instant playoff contender. Its pre-Butler +15000 odds to win the championship dipped to +3300 by July 14 at 5Dimes. The number sits at +5000 currently, but the fact the T’Wolves are the seventh choice speaks volumes. Minnesota has not played in the postseason since losing the Western Conference Finals in 2003-04. Oddsmakers pegged a 48.5 regular-season wins total for the bunch. The franchise has not won more than 40 games in 12 years.Chris Paul, Rockets
On June 28, the Clippers traded Paul to Houston for a cadre of players, point guard Patrick Beverley the best of the bunch. The nine-time All-Star Paul teams up with superstar James Harden, the franchise searching for any kind of chemistry or spark that can overcome the Warriors’ Western Conference dominance. Paul is the proven pro and arguably the one offseason move that may threaten Golden State. He is second to only LeBron James among current players in career VORP (71.69) and Plus/Minus (7.57).
The Rockets' odds to win the title opened at +3300. It dipped to +1300 two days following the Paul deal and continued to slide down to +975 in mid July. A flurry of other moves sees the number adjusting back towards its original offer. Houston is tied for fifth choice with the Thunder at +2150 odds. The Rockets were second favorites (+475) to claim the Western Conference on July 14, but have dipped to third choice at +1100 odds.Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, Thunder
The team stealing the Rockets' thunder in the market is Oklahoma City. The front office supplied MVP Russell Westbrook with a combined 14 All-Star appearances in the acquisitions of small forwards George and Anthony. On July 6, the Thunder shipped guard Victor Oladipo and Lithuanian big man Domantas Sabonis to Indiana for George, while picking up Anthony on Sept. 25 from the Knicks for center Enes Kanter, small forward Doug McDermott and a 2018 second-round pick.
The moves almost appeared a response to the Paul trade. The Thunder opened +7500 odds to win the championship in June. The number climbed to as high as +15000 two days following the Paul trade, but has been in steady decline since. Current odds have OKC tied with the Rockets at +2150 to win it all. Oddsmakers expect Westbrook’s new support to boost the team’s regular-season wins total by a significant amount. The Thunder tallied 47 victories last year but are asked to go over/under 53.5 this season. They eclipsed this number in three of the last four years Kevin Durant played in OKC. Expectations are very high for George and Anthony.Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, Celtics
The blockbuster deal of the summer involved the Eastern Conference finalists Celtics and Cavaliers, the two swapping All-Star point guards. Cleveland sent the formerly disgruntled superstar Irving to Boston for Isaiah Thomas, small forward Jae Crowder, and some extras. Boston also snagged former Utah small forward Hayward in free agency.
Oddsmakers are not so sure the Celtics' busy summer improved the team much. Books are dangling an over/under wins total of 54, a tad more than last year’s 52.5. Boston accrued 53 victories in 2016-17, the most in the Eastern Conference. Head coach Brad Stevens’ bunch appears the only real threat to dethrone the Cavaliers according to the market. They are +245 to win the East; Cleveland is favorite at -148, while the Bucks are third choice at a distant +2000 odds.Isaiah Thomas and Dwyane Wade, Cavaliers
In addition to Thomas coming over, LeBron James is reuniting with old friend and former Heat teammate Wade, a casualty of the rebuilding process in Chicago. The odds haven’t altered much with change. As long as “The King” is on the court, the Cavaliers will be favorites in a watered-down Eastern Conference with any new faces. The Cavs are -148 favorites to reach the NBA Finals for a fourth year in a row. The number is similar to what books offered in each of the last three years prior to the regular season. The Cavs went off -208, -230, and -115 favorites, respectively.