By Mark Strotman | | 5 mins
Lakers Title Odds Slashed as Davis Trade Reportedly Done
One of the biggest blockbuster trades in NBA history occurred on Saturday, with the New Orleans Pelicans reportedly agreeing to ship six-time All-Star Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers for a package of young players and draft picks.
NBA odds have made instantaneous shifts in the wake of the deal, including the Lakers’ 2020 championship odds moving from +700 to +550 on 888Sport.
It also, of course, will have a significant impact on both teams’ win totals for the upcoming season. Here’s the latest for fans of NBA betting.
Lakers Become Title Contenders with Davis
The Davis trade has multiple players to it. On the surface, Davis gives the Lakers a top-10 player in the league who over the last three seasons has averaged 27.5 points on 52% shooting, 11.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks.
At 26, he hasn’t even reached the prime of his career and should only see his numbers and efficiency improve playing alongside LeBron James. The Lakers now have two of the top-10 players in basketball. That alone makes them contenders.
But the Lakers also just became a destination for free agents, and they are able to clear enough cap space for a max free agent. Perhaps players don’t want to play with James, but the acquisition of Davis may spark the interest of prospective additions looking to win an NBA title.
Assuming AD waives his trade bonus (a safe assumption), L.A. will have north of $32 million in cap space, which will be enough money to sign a max-salary free agent.— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) June 15, 2019
Players the Lakers can target include:
Those are obviously significant names – Walker is reportedly their top target – and acquiring any of the players on that list would give the Lakers arguably the best healthy Big Three in the NBA.
Proven veterans hunting for rings may also take discounts to join James and Davis, much like players did in joining James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the 2012 Miami Heat.
The Lakers, with head coach Frank Vogel and an impressive assistant coaching staff around him, will compete for a title this season. The Western Conference is loaded, but potential 2020 season-ending injuries to Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant make the Warriors much easier to get past, and we all know what James is capable of once the postseason begins, even at age 35.
It’s no surprise the Lakers’ odds have shifted so dramatically. They’ll likely shift even further once they fill out the rest of their roster, potentially with a significant free agent.
Lakers’ Win Total Looks Good, Too
Teams are becoming increasingly cautious with how they deploy their stars in the regular season, and Kawhi Leonard’s 2019 postseason after missing 20 games for load management will only further that strategy.
Still, a Lakers team with James, Davis and a potential third star – and Kyle Kuzma, who surprisingly wasn’t part of the deal – should contend for the top spot in the Western Conference.
That makes Los Angeles’ over-under win total of 50.5 seem low. It’s admittedly a big number for a team that won 37 games a season ago, but consider two things: Next year’s team will look entirely different, and James’ Lakers were on a 48-win pace last season before the groin injury he suffered on Christmas.
James is going to want to remind the rest of the league just how good he is after a postseason-less 2019, and it could mean a dominant regular season.
Prior to last year, James-led teams had won 50, 51, 57, 54, 66, 57 and 58 regular-season games over the last seven seasons. Granted, those came in the East, but James’ teams do very well in the regular season. That’ll be the case in 2020, too.
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Zion, Pelicans Get a Lot Better
There’s no question this trade was about Davis and the Lakers. But let’s not look past just how impressive a young group general manager David Griffin is building in the post-AD era. The Pelicans will undoubtedly select Duke forward Zion Williamson with the first pick.
He will join an excellent young core that includes Jrue Holiday, Ingram and Ball. Holiday remains one of the league’s most underrated players, Ingram just averaged 18.7 points on 50% shooting at age 21, and Ball is an outstanding distributor and perimter defender.
And let’s not forget about the 4th overall pick that the Pelicans now own. Teams are reportedly inquiring about that pick with the draft less than a week away.
Teams are already expressing significant interest in the No. 4 overall pick belonging now to the Pelicans, league sources tell ESPN. Talks are expected to continue over the next few days. This deal could get even bigger for the Pelicans.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 15, 2019
That could potentially add another proven veteran to the team that helps out more in Year 1 than a rookie like Jarrett Culver would have.
That’s why the Pelicans’ current over-under win total of 32.5 also seems low.
True, they’re in a wildly difficult Western Conference, but if Williamson – who will be the odds-on favorite for Rookie of the Year when those odds are posted – is an instant star and another veteran joins the team, Alvin Gentry and the Pelicans could flirt with .500 status and cruise past their 32.5-win total.