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Biggest Winners/Losers from NBA Trade Deadline: OKC’s Championship Odds Fall to 31-1

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook has the Thunder in third place in the crowded Western Conference. Photo by Mike Clarens (flickr).
  • The Bucks emerged as one of the biggest winners at the NBA Trade deadline after acquiring Nikola Mirotic 
  • Did the Celtics make the right decision to stand pat?
  • Will the Nuggets regret their decision to not unload one of their many guards?  

February 7th was a red letter day for real estate agents and travel bookers as 38 NBA players changed teams prior to the league’s annual trade deadline.

All of that movement had a profound impact on the odds for the 2019 NBA Championship, as several teams rose or fell significantly depending upon how oddsmakers viewed the moves they made – and in the some cases – didn’t make.

We’ve examined the average odds across a number of top online sportsbooks and have used those numbers to determine the top three winners and the top three losers of the 2019 NBA Trade Deadline.

Biggest NBA Trade Deadline Winners

1. Milwaukee Bucks (+1100)

Milwaukee entered the trade deadline with the best record in the NBA and few glaring needs. Bucks GM Jon Horst would have been forgiven for standing pat, but instead he made one of the day’s smartest moves by acquiring Pelicans sharpshooter Nikola Mirotic for  forwards Jason Smith, Stanley Johnson and four second round selections.

The 27-year-old forward is averaging a career-high 16.7 points on 44% shooting from the floor and 36% from beyond the arc, and should provide even more spacing for MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo to wreak havoc in the paint.

The deal improved Milwaukee’s championship odds from +1200 to +1100, effectively moving them into third place in the 2019 title chase.

2. Houston Rockets (+1300)

Few teams were busier at the deadline than the Rockets, who made a number of minor moves to help improve the team’s defense and bottom line. Daryl Morey’s most significant deal was for Iman Shumpert, a hard-nosed 3-and-D specialist who should provide some of the same grit supplied last season by Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute.

Shumpert is part of a gradual, season-long rebuild in Houston that has also included the sneaky smart acquisitions of Austin Rivers, who is averaging 10.7 points and 3.4 dimes per game, and Kenneth Faried, who is putting up 16.1 points and 10.2 boards per contest. Oddsmakers liked Morey’s latest move enough to adjust the Rockets’ odds from +1500 to +1300 immediately following the deadline.

3. Philadelphia 76ers (+1400)

Philly transformed its Big 3 into a Big 4 prior to the trade deadline by acquiring forward Tobias Harris from the Los Angeles Clippers.

The deal saw Harris, center Boban Marjanovic, and forward Mike Scott head to the Sixers in exchange for guard Landry Shamet and forwards Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala. Los Angeles also received two first round picks and two second round selections. Oddsmakers were quick to react to the move and shortened Philly’s championship odds accordingly from +1600 to +1400.

Harris’ future beyond this season is uncertain, but in the meantime he gives the Sixers another versatile scorer who can help spread the court to simultaneously maximize Joel Embiid’s strengths and hide Ben Simmons’ deficiencies. Pity the Eastern Conference team that has to face a crunch time line up featuring Simmons, JJ Redick, Jimmy Butler, Harris, and Embiid.

2019 NBA Championship Odds

Team Odds
Golden State Warriors -175
Toronto Raptors +800
Milwaukee Bucks +900
Houston Rockets +1200
Boston Celtics +1400

Biggest NBA Trade Deadline Losers

1. Boston Celtics (+1300)

Sometimes the greatest sin is doing nothing at all. That was the case for the Celtics, who stayed on the sidelines while the East’s top contenders wheeled and dealed at the deadline. Danny Ainge’s strategy of retaining enough assets to acquire Anthony Davis in the offseason is understandable, but it may have hurt his team’s fortunes in the meantime.

Oddsmakers were unimpressed with Boston’s inactivity and downgraded the team’s championship odds from +1100 to +1300.

2. Denver Nuggets (+3000)

Like the Celtics, the Nuggets also sat out the trade deadline, choosing instead to keep their current core in tact. It was a questionable decision considering Denver is on a two-game skid and has a wealth of tradeable assets and redundant pieces.

Will Nuggets GM Artūras Karnišovas regret his decision when Isaiah Thomas returns from injury and joins an already overloaded backcourt featuring Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Malik Beasley, Will Barton, and Monte Morris? Vegas seems to think so, and lengthened Denver’s championship odds accordingly from +2600 to +3000.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder (+3100)

There was much speculation around the NBA that the Thunder would try to acquire a shooter at the deadline to improve the team’s spacing and mitigate the three-point woes of All-Star guard Russell Westbrook. Orlando forward Terrence Ross was reportedly available for the right price, as was Mirotic before he was snapped up by the Bucks.

OKC chose to pass on both potential deals and to wait instead for the return of Andre Roberson, who is still in the midst of rehabbing a small avulsion fracture in his knee. Oddsmakers aren’t fans of the Thunder’s thinking and have downgraded their championship odds from +2200 to +3100.

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