The Boston Celtics failed to add the seasoned veteran they were searching for prior to the recent NBA draft, but that hasn’t prevented them from opening in the top third of the board with +2500 odds to win the 2017 NBA title at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The Celtics are coming off their best NBA regular season in five years, recording 48 wins to finish second in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference standings. But the club turned in yet another disappointing postseason performance, bowing out in the first round in their third consecutive playoff appearance, falling to the Atlanta Hawks in six games.
In the days leading up to this year’s NBA draft, the Celtics reportedly were in talks to move the No. 3 overall pick they acquired as part of the deal that sent Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn three years ago, but Boston ultimately ended up using the pick to select Jaylen Brown, a freshman forward from Cal.
With the NBA salary cap set to rise dramatically next season, and Jared Sullinger and Tyler Zeller the lone members of this year’s club hitting restricted free agency, a roster shakeup might remain in the works for the Celtics.
Boston still could be active on the trade market or target an unrestricted free agent who could assume the mantle of leader on the floor and in the locker room next season.
Most notable among likely targets is forward Kevin Durant, who is set to hit unrestricted free agency after nearly a decade with the Oklahoma City Thunder, and center Al Horford, who powered the Hawks to their playoff victory over the Celtics.
The acquisition of either star likely would give Boston’s NBA championship odds a boost, possibly lifting the Celtics past the three-time Atlantic Division champion Toronto Raptors, who currently join the C’s at +2500 on those betting futures.
However, the Celtics are far from being the front-runners in their bid for Durant’s services.
The Thunder entered the final days of June leading the pack to re-sign Durant as -350 chalk on the NBA player props board, with the Golden State Warriors following as a strong +400 wager to sign the seven-time NBA All-Star to a deal. The Celtics trail at a distant +1600.
Meanwhile, Jaylen Brown is receiving consideration on the 2017 NBA Rookie of the Year odds. The 2016 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year sports +2000 odds, well back of front-runner Ben Simmons, selected first overall at this year’s NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers and perched as +325 chalk. The New Orleans Pelicans’ Buddy Hield closely follows at +550.
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