The Houston Rockets have traded perennial MVP candidate James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets in a league-altering mega-deal. Now, let’s take a look at how the trade affects the championship odds of all four NBA teams involved.
Brooklyn Nets (+600 to +300)
Brooklyn Nets Acquire: James Harden
Brooklyn Nets Send: Three first-round picks (22, 24, 26), Four first-round swaps (21, 23, 25, 27), Rodions Kurucs, Jarrett Allen, Caris LeVert, Taurean Prince
James Harden will team up with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in what is one of the most intimidating “Big 3” the NBA has ever seen.
On the offensive side, the Nets project to be the most unstoppable team in the league. Even with Irving out for an indeterminable amount of time, it will be a defensive nightmare to guard both Harden and Durant.
Unsurprisingly, the Nets saw their NBA championship odds immediately improve. If the team can even play a shade of defense, they should cruise to the second round of the playoffs easily.
Without a doubt, Brooklyn will see the biggest increase in wagers placed on them to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy by the end of the season.
Houston Rockets (+5,000 to +12,000)
Houston Rockets Acquire: Victor Oladipo, Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs, 3 BKN first-rounders (22, 24, 26), 1 MIL first (22, unprotected), 4 BKN 1st round swaps (21, 23, 25, 27)
Houston Rockets Send: James Harden
Of all four NBA teams, the Rockets are the only team to see their championship odds decrease after the trade.
This is to be expected after trading the face of the franchise away for a massive haul of draft picks.
When the season started, Houston was expected to be fringe contenders at best. Now, they have been relegated to the sixth lowest odds of all Western Conference contenders.
With the addition of Oladipo to a squad that already includes DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall, the Rockets aren’t going to roll over and become cellar dwellers quite yet.
However, what little NBA championship aspirations they had for this year are now truly gone.
Cleveland Cavaliers (+50,000 to +25,000)
Cleveland Cavaliers Acquire: Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince
Cleveland Cavaliers Send: Dante Exum
The Cavaliers pulled off a steal of a trade here, acquiring a legitimate franchise center in Jarrett Allen and a solid rotation piece in exchange for Dante Exum, who won’t even be able to take the floor for the Rockets for a month or so.
Still, the addition of Allen is not nearly enough to move the needle for Cleveland this season.
With a little roster tinkering, the Cavs could contend in a year or so, but they are still extreme long shots, as the +25,000 odds reflect.
This trade sets Cleveland up better for the future, but gamblers won’t exactly be rushing to the sportsbooks to wager on them to win it all this year.
Indiana Pacers (+10,000 to +5,000)
Indiana Pacers Acquire: Caris LeVert, second-round pick
Indiana Pacers Send: Victor Oladipo
Like the Cavaliers, the Harden trade has halved the title odds of the Indiana Pacers.
Coming in to the season, the Pacers were considered fringe contenders at best. Swapping Victor Oladipo for Caris LeVert shouldn’t move the needle much, but the odds change was significant.
Perhaps the bookmakers think supplying a fresh face in Indy will spur the Pacers to overachieve, but it’s doubtful Indiana shocks the world and topples some of the super teams in the East.
Of the four teams listed, Indiana is likely to see the second biggest increase in wagers placed on them after the Nets.