This summer, it was a foregone conclusion that Damian Lillard would get his wish and join the Miami Heat after requesting a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers. Instead, he ended up on the Milwaukee Bucks, the No. 2 choice behind the Boston Celtics at most books as far as NBA championship futures are concerned.
Meanwhile, James Harden, a Los Angeles native, wanted to return home to play for the Clippers and went out of his way to force 76ers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey’s hand in securing that outcome. He went as far as calling Morey a liar, holding out on reporting to training camp and then pulling off a disappearing act just before the season.
Although he intended to accompany Philadelphia on its first road trip, the team barred him from boarding, according to reports, and he trained with G Leaguers instead, ramping up his conditioning.
In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, Morey struck a deal with the Clippers to send his disgruntled star guard to L.A. alongside P.J. Tucker and Filip Petrusev in exchange for Nicolas Batum, Marcus Morris, St., Robert Covington, Kenyon Martin, Jr., a 2028 first-round pick, a future first-round selection via another team, a pick swap, and two second-round picks.
With the saga over, the Clippers’ NBA futures odds have been shortened on sportsbooks apps around the sports betting marketplace.
Upon news of the Clippers’ trade for Harden, LA’s odds to win the 2023-24 NBA title were tightened by multiple sportsbooks, including Caesars and BetMGM.
The adjustment makes them the fifth betting choice to win the NBA title, behind the Celtics (), Bucks (), Nuggets () and Suns ().
Here are the most up-to-date NBA futures odds from top sports betting sites:
Only the defending champion Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns have shorter odds among Western Conference teams, as the Clippers have been moved ahead of the Golden State Warriors and LA Lakers on the NBA futures odds board.
L.A. was able to secure Harden’s services without moving any significant core pieces, although Covington did start the other night and Batum and Morris have previously been staples in the first five under Lue.
Russell Westbrook is likely to move to a bench role as Harden joins Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Terance Mann and center Ivica Zubac as a starter. Keeping Mann, a top perimeter defender who the Sixers coveted, was a priority for Clippers President Lawrence Frank and GM Trent Redden and reportedly held up this deal just a few weeks ago.
Sixth man Norman Powell also remains in place, and the addition of Tucker as a potential small-ball center option will give head coach Tyronn Lue another way to match up with teams behind conventional big men Zubac and Mason Plumlee.
Harden is unlikely to debut for the Clippers against the Magic on Halloween night or against the Lakers on Wednesday, but should be in uniform for L.A.’s contest in New York against the Knicks on Nov. 6 as his new team begins a three-game East coast swing.
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Here are the latest odds for the 76ers:
The 76ers, who added forward Kelly Oubre, Jr. and center Mo Bamba in the offseason, are now loaded up front given their new acquisitions and the presence of All-Star Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris and Paul Reed.
Backcourt options are a little thin behind Tryese Maxey, DeAnthony Melton and veteran Patrick Beverley, so look for Morey to address that with another move prior to the trade deadline.
Detroit’s Bojan Bogdanovic, currently injured, and Alec Burks, are coveted known commodities who are likely on the radar as targets.
Don’t expect a lot of movement on Philadelphia’s odds since Harden’s potential exit was already baked into this season’s futures.