Despite a nine-game losing streak, the Brooklyn Nets entered Trade Deadline Thursday as the betting favorite at most sportsbooks to win the 2021-22 NBA championship, remaining in the role they have been in since the Bucks won the championship last July.
The prospect of being able to throw Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving out on the floor for a postseason run was deemed to be too much for all other teams to overcome. Even the Lakers’ addition of Russell Westbrook – which obviously hasn’t been effective – didn’t knock the Nets out of that favorite role.
With the consummation of Thursday’s trade that moved Harden and Paul Millsap to Philadelphia in exchange for the services of Ben Simmons, Andre Drummond, and Seth Curry, in addition to a couple of future first-round picks, the grand experiment of putting Harden in the same backcourt as Irving never went according to plan.
The Brooklyn Nets are trading James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round picks, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 10, 2022
While the Nets’ odds have been lengthened across the betting market since Monday, they remain the betting favorites on many oddsboards to win the title. At SuperBook USA, however, the Nets’ status as favorites had already changed, and the trade prompted oddsmakers at the Las Vegas shop to move the 76ers ahead of Brooklyn.
Here’s how odds to win the 2021-22 NBA Championship have been adjusted at four sportsbooks since Monday.
DraftKings: Nets from +300 to +320, Sixers from +1400 to +800
FanDuel: Nets from +350 to +420, Sixers from +1300 to +650
BetMGM: Nets from +350 to +425, Sixers from +1200 to +550
SuperBook USA: Nets from +600 to +800; Sixers from +1400 to +650
Fresh Outlook For Sixers
It remains to be seen how the Sixers come together with Harden set to work alongside 2021-22 MVP frontrunner Joel Embiid. Simmons wasn’t playing due to his dissatisfaction with how he was treated by 76ers coaches and fans, and the move ensures Embiid has another All-Star around him who actually wants to play in Philadelphia.
The 76ers get Harden and Millsap and lose one of the league’s premier backup centers and an elite shooter in the process. They were able to hold on to young glue guys Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle, but need Furkan Korkmaz and Isaiah Joe to step up and provide perimeter punch.
DraftKings adjusted the 76ers to +700 from +1400 earlier in the day, and it’s no surprise the addition of Harden moves the needle.
Nets Improved, Too
The Nets were priced longer than +400 around the betting market Thursday, before news of the deal broke. For their odds to have improved at some shops on the heels of such a dark time for the franchise is the other side of the coin.
Although it’s going to take a few weeks for Simmons to get acclimated to new teammates in addition to getting back in game shape after taking most of the season off, he’s a better fit for Brooklyn than Harden was, at least when and if Irving is able to play full-time. It’s hard to forecast whether vaccination mandates will loosen up in New York to allow him to participate in games at Barclays Center down the stretch and into the playoffs, but presuming Irving is part of the mix at home and on the road, he’ll be able to handle the ball more than he would’ve with Harden in place.
Simmons is an elite defender and fantastic passer, so he’ll be able to coexist nicely with Durant, Irving, and the rest of Brooklyn’s group. The Nets had Durant, Harden, and Irving together for only 16 games, so it’s not like Steve Nash is faced with the chore of picking up the pieces of some elite core that had figured out how to dominate. Brooklyn being the NBA favorite was always about potential and the prospect of being able to put three elite offensive players on the floor. The landscape is different now, but the Nets could be even more formidable if Simmons is able to play to his strengths.
Nets, Sixers And The Rising East
The Nets and 76ers get together March 10 in Philadelphia, so get your popcorn ready.
With Miami, Chicago, and defending champion Milwaukee also thinking championship, the Eastern Conference has finally become a monster on the level that the West has been for years. There’s no way you should be backing the Nets at these current odds as a result, especially since free-throw shooting might be a liability since that’s Simmons Achilles’ heel.
More NBA Trade Deadline Deals And NBA Odds Impact
Other deals that came down on deadline day saw the Celtics look to position themselves for a run at the top of the conference. Boston moved off offseason acquisitions Dennis Schroder and Josh Richardson and added former fan favorite Daniel Theis to help out in the post and also landed Derrick White from San Antonio to join Marcus Smart in the backcourt.
The Bucks made a nice tweak in picking up Serge Ibaka from the Clippers in a four-team deal also featuring the Kings and Pistons. Although they had to trade Donte DiVincenzo, Rodney Hood, and Semi Ojeleye, Milwaukee acquired great insurance in case Brook Lopez can’t heal from back surgery in time to anchor the frontcourt alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bobby Portis. Milwaukee is +600 at FanDuel and +700 at DraftKings, which puts them in the same neighborhood odds-wise as the new-look 76ers. If you’re a fan of cohesion, you may want to look at a Bucks repeat as opposed to banking that the Embiid-Harden marriage will be an instant success at similar odds.
The most impactful move in the Western Conference saw the Dallas Mavericks deal Kristaps Porzingis to Washington in a move that lands them another playmaker in Spencer Dinwiddie and a floor-spacer in 6-foot-10 Latvian sniper Davis Bertans. The Mavs are in the +4000 range out West, slotting them behind the Warriors, Suns, Jazz, Lakers, Grizzlies, and Nuggets.
The top teams in the West didn’t make many moves. Phoenix brought back Torrey Craig, acquiring the defensive-minded forward from Indiana. The Lakers are looking at the buyout market to make their next addition and couldn’t move Westbrook.
Portland traded C.J. McCollum earlier this week, sending him to New Orleans in a trade that moved Josh Hart to the Trail Blazers. Norman Powell and Robert Covington were also moved in Portland’s fire sale, landing with the Clippers as interesting pieces who fit in nicely alongside Kawhi Leonard and Paul George once those superstars return.
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