This is an important week in the NBA as the 2020 trade deadline is on Thursday afternoon. Thus, following the deadline should be the last time there are any significant changes to the championship futures odds – barring major injury/suspension, etc., to a contender, of course.
Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
Perhaps it would be fitting for the Los Angeles Lakers to win their 17th NBA title come June, which would tie the Boston Celtics for most in league history. The Lakers haven’t won it all since 2010 when they were led by the legendary Kobe Bryant, who was named NBA Finals MVP for the second time in his career.
Of course, Kobe, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others were tragically killed in a helicopter accident on January 26 in Los Angeles – barely 12 hours after Bryant was passed as the NBA’s third all-time leading scorer by current Laker LeBron James. Bryant’s death was felt all around the world, and obviously the most by the Laker organization. Kobe played 20 seasons with the Lakers and holds many significant team records. The Lakers, who could be extra motivated now to win a title for Kobe, are +250 title favorites.
One contender that could make a significant trade before Thursday’s deadline is the talented but wildly inconsistent Philadelphia 76ers, who are +1200 to win the championship. Reports are that both the Lakers and 76ers are interested in trading for Pistons point guard and former NBA MVP Derrick Rose. He might be enough to put either team over the top.
The Toronto Raptors were supposed to fall into mediocrity after losing Kawhi Leonard in free agency, but the defending NBA champs could finish as high as second in the Eastern Conference standings and are on a team-record-tying 11-game winning streak. The Dinos could be good value to repeat at +2500.
However, the clear-cut team to beat in the East is the Milwaukee Bucks, who are on a 70-win pace. The Bucks are +300 second-favorites to win it all and are all but locks to earn home-court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Every NBA fan would like to see Zion Williamson’s New Orleans Pelicans in the playoffs, but that’s looking unlikely barring a huge finish. The Pels are +10000 to win their first NBA title.