Update: We’re well past the trade deadline now, and Eastern Conference champion odds have been posted. The Nets are the favorites at +190, but the 76ers have moved into a tie with the Bucks at +300. As for the title odds, the Nets are at +370 while the 76ers are +700. The Bucks have dropped to +700 in this category.
Update: The lines have continued to move, with the Nets now at +380 to win the championship and the 76ers at +700. Brooklyn could see additional movement if any details come out about Simmons and his eventual return to the court.
The Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers made the trade many thought they would, sending James Harden to Philadelphia in exchange for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round draft picks. The move reunites Harden with Daryl Morey, who was attempting to bring the superstar to the 76ers. It also moves Simmons out, as he was sitting on the sidelines looking for a trade.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Nets were +320 to win the NBA title prior to the trade. They have now moved down slightly to +350. The 76ers were +850 to win the championship prior to acquiring Harden. With the shooting guard joining MVP frontrunner Joel Embiid, the 76ers are now +750 to win it all. Both teams seem to have won this trade, which is typically not the case when a star like Harden is dealt.
If the Nets can get Kevin Durant and Joe Harris back healthy, they’ll be a formidable group in the playoffs. New York City’s vaccine mandate might also be lifted, which would give Kyrie Irving the green light to play home games. If Simmons is motivated to prove the doubters wrong, he could be a welcome addition to Brooklyn’s roster. On the flip side, the 76ers added a star perimeter scorer to pair with a big man playing a level many haven’t seen for a while. It’s hard to beat that combination in a seven-game series.
Amidst all this, it’s easy to forget about the Milwaukee Bucks at +650 to win the title. The defending champs are healthy and have chemistry from years of playing together. That could be the top value play on the board.