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How NBA title odds changed following James Harden trade

The Nets landed the All-Star guard from the Rockets in a four-team trade. We look at each team’s updated title odds — including Houston, Cleveland and Indiana.

James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets dribbles the ball during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers on January 12, 2021 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. Photo by Cato Cataldo/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA world got flipped on its head when the Houston Rockets sent All-Star guard James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets as part of a four-team trade on Wednesday afternoon. The Beard had wanted out of Houston and he got his way in a big way, joining Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn to form perhaps the biggest Big 3 since the Miami Heat in 2012. Not only was Harden shipped to the Nets but we saw plenty of moving parts involving the Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers as the trade developed. As a result, the NBA championship odds on DraftKings Sportsbook have shifted. Let’s take a look.

Updated NBA Championship odds post-James Harden trade

Brooklyn Nets

Pre-trade: +500
Post-trade: +300

The Nets had to let go of Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince in order to land Harden. They also gave up a ton of picks and pick swaps, but that likely won’t matter if this core sticks together long-term. In the short-term, the Nets are now second behind the Los Angeles Lakers (+250) to win the title.

Brooklyn still has plenty of depth as demonstrated last night in a win over the New York Knicks without Irving, LeVert, Allen or Prince active. Durant and Harden were teammates at one point on the Thunder. Harden has a good relationship with the coaching staff. He clearly wants to win and is a former MVP. If the Big 3 stay healthy and there aren’t big concerns in the locker room, the Nets should AT LEAST make it to the NBA Finals. You don’t put arguably three of the top 10-15 players in the NBA on the same team and fall short of something like that.

The Nets are also favorites now to win the East at +140 ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks (+320). You don’t get as much juice on taking the Nets to win it all at +300, however, it feels a lot safer for Brooklyn to make it out of the East rather than take down the Lakers or even Los Angeles Clippers in a seven-game series. Just some more angles to consider.

Indiana Pacers

Pre-trade: +10000
Post-trade: +4000

The Pacers actually got the biggest boost ahead of the Nets in terms of championship odds. Indiana sent Victor Oladipo to the Rockets in exchange for LeVert after the dust settled a bit on the Harden details. Swapping an aging veteran All-Star on an expiring contract with injury issues for a young, up-and-coming, potential All-Star wing was ideal. LeVert should be a decent upgrade over Dipo in both the short- and long-term.

So looking at the Pacers roster and potential, they don’t feel like a bad darkhorse team to win the East in the regular season. Indy has a new coach in Nate Bjorkgren who learned under championship coach Nick Nurse in Toronto. The Pacers have a ton of depth, which has made it easier to lose TJ Warren, who is out long-term with a foot fracture. If Warren can return at any point this season and contribute, the Pacers would have a scary starting lineup. Malcolm Brogdon, Caris LeVert, TJ Warren, Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner. Almost everyone in that starting 5 can create offense and play defense.

The Pacers still have steep odds to win both the East (+1600) and Central Division (+700) and it may not be a bad idea to take a long look at both those lines. LeVert out from under the shadow of Irving and Durant has a chance to shine as a featured offensive weapon in Indy. This gives the Pacers three All-Star caliber plays in Brogdon, LeVert and Sabonis. They’re deep, they play two-way ball, this could be the surprise team of the season.

Houston Rockets

Pre-trade: +5000
Post-trade: +10000

The Rockets fall off a cliff after losing Harden, though it may be for the best. Not that the team had much championship aspirations prior to dealing The Beard. If anything, the locker room will be cleansed. The Rockets still have the potential to make the postseason with a roster featuring John Wall, Christian Wood, Victor Oladipo and DeMarcus Cousins. Will it do anything outside of that? Probably not. Houston will enter more of a rebuild stage once Wall’s contract is up in 3 seasons. The idea isn’t to win anything right now.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Pre-trade: +50000
Post-trade: +50000

Nothing new for the Cavaliers. Cleveland has a bit more depth after adding Allen and Prince. The former is a young big who can develop into a quality starter/fringe, fringe All-Star. Allen is a natural replacement for Andre Drummond, who will likely bolt via free agency after the season. Prince is a decent two-way wing who can shoot, albeit in a streaky manner. If Cleveland can get healthy, there’s a chance the team can make some noise and get into the postseason. As far as a championship? Still a very long way to go for the Cavs.

Championship Odds Impact of James Harden trade

Teams Preseason Odds Pre James Harden Trade Odds Post James Harden Trade Odds
Teams Preseason Odds Pre James Harden Trade Odds Post James Harden Trade Odds
Nets +600 +500 +300
Rockets +6000 +5000 +10000
Pacers +10000 +10000 +4000
Cavaliers +50000 +50000 +50000

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