We are right around the halfway point of the NBA regular season. This means that we are rapidly approaching the trade deadline, something that can really impact the Finals and playoff odds moving forward.
Before we hit the trade deadline is always a nice time to freshen up on the current odds and possibly even take a shot or two on teams that may improve their trajectory around the deadline.
The Clippers, Lakers, and Bucks are currently all listed at +300, head and shoulders above the rest of the league. These odds are really high for three different teams at this point in time, and I am generally not going to be betting any of these teams here unless you have a really strong take, unlike myself.
Obviously, these odds generally indicate that the books like the Los Angeles teams over the Bucks straight up. The Los Angeles teams are similarly priced despite the fact they would both have to go through the other and also beat the Bucks in the Finals.
If you think that the Bucks are on the same level, I would likely take them if I was asked for the best value, but I have no strong take here.
I also do not expect a blockbuster trade from any of these teams because two of them have almost no future assets to part with in a deal. I think that both Los Angeles teams will be looking for more shooting and defense if possible, but I don’t see an imminent change outside of the addition of someone like Darren Collison or Andre Iguodala.
The Bucks could try to make a move, but they seem to be in it for the long haul and seem content in not selling out for a one-year championship run.
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Can Someone Make A Move?
The Philadelphia 76ers, Houston Rockets, and Denver Nuggets are all between +900 and +1600, and these are the teams that could maybe try to make a move to be seen as more equal to their counterparts in the favorite category.
The issue for two of these teams is that they also don’t really have a ton of desirable assets that they can trade, and I don’t really expect either the 76ers or Rockets to change their starting lineup via trade.
The Nuggets are a different story, and they are my favorite bet on the board for a championship run at +1600 because they could clearly be aggressive in the trade market if they feel like it. They have young assets like Monte Morris, Malik Beasley, Torrey Craig, Jerami Grant, Michael Porter Jr., and Bol Bol, all of which could be valuable to other teams. It would also not really hinder their current roster at all to trade one or more of them assuming that they at least replace that position on their depth chart.
The Nuggets are also seemingly interested in making trades for another big-time player like Jrue Holiday in exchange for Gary Harris and another potential young player previously mentioned if the Pelicans want to do business. Holiday would be an incredible addition to this team and provide a clear and real upside.
I don’t really like any other team to win the Finals because they’ll all be huge dogs at this point where it would be hard to hedge in a single series. I do like a few teams that are currently outside of the playoff picture to make a run if you can find odds offered sometime soon.
The Pelicans are the second-worst team in the West right now, but they have won nine of their last 13, and they have been missing Derrick Favors and Holiday for over half of those games.
They expect Zion Williamson to make his regular-season debut next week, and they are really only five games out with one of the easiest remaining schedules in the NBA.
The Trail Blazers could be a team to add a good three-and-D player to start at the 3 at the deadline, and this team is more than talented enough to get into the playoffs and even upset a team. I like those two teams moving forward.
If you want to fade a team, I am not opposed to fading the Thunder. This is a team that isn’t winning soon, and getting rid of guys like Danilo Gallinari and Chris Paul would likely help them in the long term.
Maybe they want to be competitive while they can, but if a team is willing to give up assets for one of their best players, I think the Thunder may cave and make the team worse now for the future.