After a lackluster postseason the NBA offseason has proved to be much more entertaining. While we always knew the NBA Finals would come down to the Warriors and Cavaliers, the summer months have given basketball bettors surprise after surprise, shaking up the NBA futures in the process.
We’re not done with all the wheeling and dealing, but let’s review the biggest offseason moves so far and how those have impact the futures for the 2017-18 NBA season:
Chris Paul to Houston
The rumors had Chris Paul leaving Los Angeles for San Antonio, not another Texas team. But the Clippers knew he was leaving town and were able to flip this into a trade, rather than have the talented point guard sign as a free agent and return nothing to L.A.
The Rockets were one of the top teams in the Western Conference without Paul, which isn’t saying a lot considering the gap between Golden State and the rest of the West. However, the deal moved Houston from 30/1 to 15/1 to win the NBA title – tying the Rockets as the fourth overall favorites with the Celtics and behind the Warriors, Cavs, and Spurs on the futures board.
Jimmy Butler to Minnesota
This stunner stole the show during the NBA Draft, with Minnesota adding a superstar scorer to an already talented combo of Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. Butler seemed destined for Boston, Cleveland, or even to stay in Chicago, but the T-Wolves stepped up and threw their hat into the ring of a very deep Western Conference race.
Minnesota was as large as +20,000 to win the NBA title before the draft and slimmed those futures to +5,000 after landing Butler. That’s crazy. Now, as we said above, there is a significant difference from the Warriors to the Spurs and Rockets, and even the Thunder in the West. The Timberwolves are still very much fighting for a Top 8 finish in the conference but have set themselves up for future success. Can we get action down on the 2020 NBA title yet?
Paul George to Oklahoma City
And the shockers keep coming. The silence of a quiet Friday night before the Fourth of July weekend was shattered when the Thunder dealt Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis to the Pacers for Paul George. George, who was rumored to be heading to the Lakers or even joining forces with LeBron in Cleveland for a year, will likely be on loan to OKC for one season before seeking max money in 2018.
The Thunder, who take some of the pressure off triple-double machine and NBA MVP Russell Westbrook with this deal, were around 100/1 to win the NBA title before adding George and cut that number in half to 50/1 Friday night. Oklahoma City also moved from 50/1 to 25/1 to win the West.
Dwight Howard to Charlotte
Here’s a riddle for you: If a NBA team makes a trade and the futures don’t adjust, doesn’t it really make a difference. Dwight Howard still carries some name value but has fallen out of favor with NBA fans after jumping from team to team, and serving as a locker room cancer at each stop. However, things were relatively quiet for Howard in Atlanta – as were his numbers on the floor. The once All-NBA center averaged just 13.5 points per game, which was his lowest scoring production since his rookie year.
The Hornets’ futures remained unchanged at most sportsbooks following the Howard deal, sitting at about 300/1. The Hawks, however, dropped a touch from 175/1 to 200/1. Charlotte will be squeezing the last remaining years from Howard but the conference has only gotten worse with names like Butler and George crossing over to the West. The Hornets could crack the playoffs next year. Regardless, make sure to get the best sportsbook bonus wherever you decide to play this upcoming season.