The Boston Celtics have remained quiet since the NBA free agent market opened with signings that have altered the landscape of the league. The Celtics also have held steady on the NBA championship odds, where they continue to sit among the favorites at +510 to win the title next spring at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
After falling one win short of their first NBA Finals berth since 2010, the Celtics entered the offseason sitting fourth on the NBA championship odds at +600. However, the news of LeBron James agreeing to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Golden State Warriors bringing in DeMarcus Cousins, sent a shockwave through the odds board.
In addition to the Cleveland Cavaliers’ expected tumble to a distant +50000, the failure to sign King James also has dropped the Philadelphia 76ers, who have fallen from +550 to +1425. The moves by the Lakers and Warriors also have hit Houston hard, with the Rockets slipping from +525 to +800 on the odds.
While the Lakers and Warriors look poised to engage in an epic struggle for Western Conference supremacy next season, James’ departure for the west coast has created an opportunity for the Celtics, who are expected to enjoy a clearer path to the NBA Finals. However, the club still faces a number of personnel questions, most notably how well stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward will rebound from this past campaign’s season-ending injuries.
In addition, despite their recent dip on the odds, the 76ers are expected to build on their 52-win campaign and recent return to the postseason following a five-year playoff drought. The Toronto Raptors also should benefit from James’ move to the west. Toronto has seen its NBA championship dreams thwarted by three straight playoff series losses to James and the Cavaliers and now is likely to garner attention as a long +5500 wager on the NBA futures.
The Rockets took care of business this past week by agreeing to terms with point guard Chris Paul on a mammoth four-year, $160 million contract, and should remain in the mix to repeat as the NBA’s top regular season squad after winning 65 games in the 2017-18 campaign.
But postseason success has eluded Houston, which has failed to reach the NBA Finals since 1995, and has fallen to defeat to the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals on two occasions over the past four seasons.
The two-time defending champion Warriors continue to dominate the top of the NBA championship odds as -185 betting favorites, and LeBron James’ arrival has lifted the Lakers past the Celtics to +460, while the San Antonio Spurs lead the best of the rest at +5000.
Thumbnail photo via Nelson Chenault/USA TODAY Sports
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