If you are looking for a brief summary of what you need to know today to make informed betting choices, you’ve come to the right place!
We’ll make sure you’ve got the most up-to-date map before you embark on your sports-betting voyage.
1. Gordon Hayward Signs with the Celtics
Coming off his first All-Star season, Gordon Hayward decided to opt-out of his contract with Utah in favor of becoming an unrestricted free agent. The seven-year veteran was believed to be picking between returning to Utah, or signing with either Miami or Boston. Last night, Hayward made his decision and will be joining the only Eastern Conference team able to hand LeBron James a loss in the playoffs.
In joining the Celtics, Hayward will be reuniting with his college coach, Brad Stevens. The two enjoyed a lot of success in their two years together at Butler, capping it off with a trip to the National Championship. Though they lost to Duke in a back-and-forth game (61-59) and Hayward missed the potential game-winner at the buzzer, the season was still a tremendous success.
Hayward is a seasoned scorer, coming off a season where he averaged 21.9 PPG on 47.1-percent shooting. His presence will take a lot of pressure off Isaiah Thomas on the offensive end, and he’s no slouch defensively, either. That said, he and Stevens will likely have to wait until LeBron James is out of the East or slowed by age before getting back to a championship game. In reality, the Celtics 2018 title futures aren’t much different now versus before free agency.
2. Gallinari joins the Clippers
After Chris Paul left to go play with James Harden in Houston, the Clippers were facing a difficult situation. Blake Griffin was also an unrestricted free agent and had been attracting a lot of attention on the open market. LA had to decide whether to build around Griffin, or blow it up. The Clippers provided a quick answer, signing Griffin to a five-year, $172.2 million deal. And now they’ve provided him with some scoring help.
LA acquired Danilo Gallinari from the Nuggets as part of a three-team sign-and-trade that also involved the Hawks. The Clippers will send Jamal Crawford, Diamond Stone, and a first-round pick (via Houston) to Atlanta, while the Nuggets get Paul Millsap and a second-round pick from the Hawks.
LA will now roll out a frontcourt of Gallinari, Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan. Yet, without Paul or any top-caliber guard to tie it all together, the Clippers are in for a regression. Gallinari is a great three-point shooter, but he’s not the kind of player who can create his own shot. He functions best with an elite distributor.
If the Clippers make the playoffs in the hyper-competitive West, they’ll likely matchup with either Golden State, Houston, or San Antonio. If you thought the Clippers struggled in first-round series with Paul (which they did), just wait until this CP3-less team meets one of the conference’s Goliaths in 2018.
3. Kovalchuk Staying in the KHL
Ilya Kovalchuk is about the only thing anyone remembers about the Atlanta Thrashers (who moved to Winnipeg in 2011), but he’s more commonly recognized as the player who bolted for the KHL in 2013, just three years after signing a 15-year, $100 million mega-deal with the New Jersey Devils. Recently, the former 50-goal scorer expressed an interest in making his return to the NHL for the 2017-18 season, and his agent was working with the Devils on orchestrating a sign-and-trade. After several attempts, no deal could be struck, so Kovalchuk will return to his motherland for one more season.
Kovalchuk will be 35 years old next summer, and New Jersey will no longer hold his rights. As a free agent, Kovalchuk will be able to sign wherever he pleases. With Kovalchuk’s name off the table, there will be little movement in NHL futures odds for the next couple months.