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Mavericks Still Longshots for 2019 NBA Championship After Acquiring Injured Porzingis

Kristaps Porzingis vs Orlando Magic
Kristaps Porzingis is on the move after three seasons in New York. (Photo by Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire)
  • Thursday’s blockbuster trade teams Kristaps Porzingis with Luka Doncic in Dallas
  • The trade doesn’t move the Mavericks’ 2019 NBA Championship odds
  • How will Dallas’ title odds improve in 2020?

While we wait on the Anthony Davis main course, there was quite the unicorn as a tasty appetizer.

On a night LeBron James returned from the longest game absence in his career, the Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks were the headline, after pulling off a blockbuster seven-player swap.

It’s a power move by both sides, as two franchises on the upswing clearly met their differing objectives to improve their current situations.

For the Knicks, the decks are now cleared: moving the Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee contracts, while taking the expiring Wes Matthews and DeAndre Jordan deals leave them in prime position to go big-game hunting this offseason, with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving perhaps available.

But what about the Mavericks? Sure, they’re technically on the fringes of the playoffs in the competitive West, but are they even within range of being championship-calibre worthy after acquiring Kristaps Porzingis? A look at their +20000 average odds of winning the NBA Championship tells you all you need to know.

2019 NBA Championship Odds

Team 2019 NBA Championship Odds at Bovada (01/31/19)
Golden State Warriors -200
Toronto Raptors +750
Boston Celtics +1000
Milwaukee Bucks +1100
Houston Rockets +1400

*Click on the link in the table above to see odds for all 30 NBA teams

Mavericks Title Odds Improve – Is it Worth Wagering?

Going from +29000 out to +20000, as the Mavs did following Thursday’s trade is significant, but it’s a reach to think that much of Dallas right now. They’re 23-28, 4.5 games out of the final playoff spot in the West, with three teams they’d need to leapfrog in order to pass the eighth-seeded Clippers.

Since winning the title in 2011, owner Mark Cuban has gone on an endless mission to recalibrate the team back into a championship contender in the twilight of Dirk Nowitzki’s career. While that hasn’t worked out, he now has the next iteration of the Dirk-Steve Nash duo in place.

The Future is Bright in Big D

While there are quite a few big “ifs” going forward, landing one of the best young stars in the NBA and pairing him with the overwhelming favorite for NBA Rookie of the year in Luka Doncic positions the Mavs as one of the “it” franchises going forward.

Porzingis, still just 23, needs to heal from a torn left ACL he suffered in a game against the Bucks on February 6th last year. He was named an All-Star in his shortened season – averaging 22.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks while shooting 39.5% from three-point range – but he’s just days short of not having played a real NBA game in a full calendar year.

Doncic is averaging 20.4 points, 6.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists this year, and is already the center of Dallas’ framework. He’s also just 19 years old. My goodness.

Those two, with Hardaway in the de facto Michael Finley role, gives the Mavericks an exciting core to work with. If Cuban’s team can draft well and bring in some good pieces, there’s no reason this team can’t be considered top 10 in terms of title odds in 2020.

Who Should You Wager on for the 2019 Title?

This one isn’t up for much debate. The Golden State Warriors are every bit the overwhelming favorite they are pegged to be.

They may have lapses – like their loss to the 76ers on Thursday night – but it’s unlikely that someone is going to be able to beat that team four times in seven games. Picking GState won’t net you the most money, but it will be a win.

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Having worked in and around sports since 1997, Eric is truly a knowledgable expert. The two-time journalism grad specializes in all things NBA and NFL. From TSN.ca to CTV's Olympic Broadcast Consortium, Eric's work has appeared in local and national publications alike.