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Rockets Might Trade Everybody, But Still Have +1200 Odds to Win 2020 NBA Title

Eric Rosales

by Eric Rosales in NBA Basketball

May 29, 2019 · 3:15 PM PDT

James Harden
Houston's James Harden is fourth in NBA MVP odds. Photo by David Santiago/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire
  • Houston is putting virtually its entire roster on the trade block
  • The Rockets were foiled by Warriors in NBA Playoffs again this year
  • Is Houston still worthy of these odds for next season’s NBA title?

There’s an immediacy to the NBA now that is unlike anything we’ve ever seen.

The latest example comes out of Houston, where an ESPN story says that Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey has made his entire roster and future draft picks available in trade talks, in the hopes of shaping a contender.

Despite that TNT-triggering announcement, the Rockets’ 2020 NBA Championship odds remained rock-steady.

2020 NBA Championship Odds

Team 2020 NBA Championship Odds
Golden State Warriors +200
Milwaukee Bucks +400
Houston Rockets +1200
Boston Celtics +1500
New York Knicks +1500
Los Angeles Clippers +1800
Philadelphia 76ers +1800
Los Angeles Lakers +2000
Brooklyn Nets +2500
Denver Nuggets +2500

*Odds from 05/29/2019. Click on the link in the table above to see odds for all 30 teams.

This is the same Rockets team that just a few months ago was pegged by many to unseat the Golden State Warriors juggernaut. Instead, even without Kevin Durant, the Dubs took apart Houston in Round 2.  Let’s see if they are worth of a wager.

Lineup Tinkering Failed Miserably

After failing to capitalize on a 3-2 lead over the Warriors two seasons ago  – with the infamous 0-for-27 three-point stretch in Game 7 at home – the Rockets couldn’t bring the band back together. They lost key pieces in their rotation in Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute and tried to replace them with a bevy of band-aids like Carmelo Anthony, James Ennis,  and Michael Carter-Williams.

The only thing that held them together was a superhuman season from James Harden. With co-stars Chris Paul and Clint Capela out for extended periods, Harden carried a mismatched squad that stumbled to an 8-14 start. The Beard’s heroics righted the ship, and they went a whopping 45-15 the rest of the way.

Chris Paul Experiment an Abject Fail?

Landing Chris Paul from the Clippers was such a coup at the time, but it’s a move that has hurt the team in both the short and potentially long term.

Paul couldn’t stay healthy enough to be a difference maker, playing just 58 games each of his two regular seasons. And when they needed him most – two chances to clinch an NBA Finals’ berth, his body failed him, sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Healthy for the playoffs this season, reports came out of Houston about a rift between Harden and Paul, and the distribution of touches.

Whether that’s true or not, the Rockets may want to move on, but moving a 34-year-old injury-prone point guard, who just inked an extension that pays him $124 million over the next three years?

On top of that, Capela proved virtually unplayable in the postseason, which wouldn’t be so bad, if he wasn’t into the second year of a five-year, $90 million pact. Yikes.

Should You Be Wagering on Houston?

With Harden as the franchise player (and likely not on the block), they’ve got the one essential piece to build a contender. They’ve also got a smart GM in Morey, but are they now fishing with a bunch of other teams hoping to reel in some big catches? Try to piece that all together and run the gauntlet out West, with the big boss Warriors still lurking.

Those odds would need to lengthen a lot  to even consider this a value pick. I’d advise you to steer clear of the Rockets.

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