- BetOnline‘s updated futures for the 2022 NBA Championship favor the Lakers (+300) following their draft-night acquisition of Russell Westbrook
- The Brooklyn Nets (+325) and Milwaukee Bucks (+900) don’t have the cap space or trade pieces to respond with a big move of their own
- The Golden State Warriors (+900) and Philadelphia 76ers (+1600) are the best speculative bets in hopes they can bring in Bradley Beal or Damian Lillard
While the future of the NBA was on display on Thursday night at the 2021 NBA Draft, the old guard stole the show as the Los Angeles Lakers struck a deal with the Washington Wizards to team All-Star Russell Westbrook with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
The blockbuster trade immediately shifted the 2022 NBA Championship odds with the Purple & Gold displacing last week’s title favorites, the Brooklyn Nets, at the top of the board. Let’s check the updated odds to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy next season. And if you need any help or advice, review these tips for betting on basketball.
2022 NBA Championship Odds
|Los Angeles Lakers||+300|
|Golden State Warriors||+900|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+1600|
|New York Knicks||+4000|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+4000|
|New Orleans Pelicans||+5000|
|San Antonio Spurs||+20000|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||+50000|
Lakers the team to beat?
Perhaps the most fun part of the Lakers (+300) trade for Russell Westbrook is imagining him facing off against Brooklyn (+325) and his former Thunder teammates Kevin Durant and James Harden in the 2022 NBA Finals.
The 32-year-old guard was outstanding for the Wizards over the season’s final six weeks, averaging 23 points, 14 assists and 13.5 rebounds, but he’s a questionable fit with LeBron and AD in the half-court offense and has never been a playoff performer. With a dearth of outside shooting, one wonders if LA might have been better off bringing in 2020 3-Point Contest champion Buddy Hield from the Kings.
— Russell Westbrook (@russwest44) July 30, 2021
Two pieces of the deal that went from Los Angeles to Washington, Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell, could be rerouted to Brooklyn for guard Spencer Dinwiddie, according to reports. Without the cap space to make any serious moves this offseason, the Nets best chance at improving next year will simply be staying healthy.
The reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks (+900) also have no more chips to play with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday all making significant coin.
Warriors stand pat
Unfortunately for Golden State (+900), Bradley Beal reportedly has ‘no desire to leave the Wizards’. The team also reportedly rejected a ridiculous trade offer for Ben Simmons, with the Philadelphia 76ers asking for James Wiseman, Andrew Wiggins, and four first-round picks.
The Warriors still have plenty of trade chips in play after selecting Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody at No. 7 and No. 14 overall on Thursday night, making them a decent speculative bet in hopes they can add another star to pair with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
Bradley Beal has "no desire" to leave the Wizards, per @ShamsCharania pic.twitter.com/4E3c1VghHj
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 29, 2021
Westbrook’s move to Los Angeles likely means free-agent Chris Paul will stick with the Phoenix Suns (+1400), but with the veteran point guard’s former agent now running the Knicks (+4000), the Big Apple is in play.
The 76ers (+1600) are nowhere near title contention at the moment. But if general manager Darryl Morey keeps dreaming big and is able to land the aforementioned Beal or disgruntled Blazers guard Damian Lillard in return for Simmons, Philadelphia would have a championship-caliber roster capable of beating Brooklyn, Milwaukee and Los Angeles.
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