On Wednesday, we saw the Dejounte Murray trade to Atlanta, which affected betting odds for the 2023 NBA title. We knew there would be significant player movement in free agency, which begins Thursday at 6 p.m. ET. . However, the significant news with Kevin Durant emerged Thursday afternoon and will probably have the biggest impact of any potential free agency news.
Durant requested a trade to the Brooklyn Nets, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Haynes reports that the Phoenix Suns are listed as Durant’s preferred business destination. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Durant also has the Miami Heat on his wish list, but reports also say the Nets will trade him to whoever gives them the best performance.
As a result of a trade request from one of the best players in the league, the betting odds for the 2023 NBA title have undergone a seismic shift. We have a new favorite to win the NBA title and a former contender has moved down the board. We’ll see.
Phoenix is now the favorite to win the NBA title
After winning the NBA championship, the Golden State Warriors were installed as favorites to win the title again in 2023. The Warriors opened at +550 to repeat, and were the most popular bet in the early part of the offseason. Earlier Thursday, Golden State was a +500 favorite to win a second straight championship.
Once the Durant news dropped and the preferred landing spots were reported, the Phoenix Suns soared up the standings. Phoenix is currently a +500 favorite to win the title. Golden State has fallen back to +550, the second best odds.
The Suns had the best record in the NBA during the 2021-22 regular season, finishing with 64 wins, eight more than the second-highest total. Phoenix entered the playoffs as the +260 favorite to win the championship last season. However, they were upset in the second round, falling to the Dallas Mavericks in a seven-game series.
While no trade is complete, or even close to completion, the idea of Kevin Durant joining a team that already features Devin Booker and Chris Paul scares the rest of the league. If those three join forces, the Suns will be tough to beat. Even the idea that it’s possible has made them NBA favorites.
The Miami Heat are also reportedly on Durant’s wish list. The Heat’s championship odds have gone from 14-1 to 10-1 after the news.
nets go down
When Kyrie Irving exercised his player option Monday, it looked like the Brooklyn Nets might return with Irving, Durant and potentially Ben Simmons. That wasn’t meant to be.
It is now confirmed that Durant wants out. What happens with Kyrie remains to be seen, but the idea of him leaving seems likely. We know the duo won’t be together in Brooklyn this upcoming season, and their odds have been significantly affected.
Brooklyn was the favorite to win the NBA title for most of last season, even though Irving’s vaccination status was a distraction and Durant missed extended time with injury. The Nets then traded James Harden to Philadelphia, but they were still viewed as a potential title contender. However, Ben Simmons, who was acquired in the Harden trade, never got on the court and Brooklyn was swept by the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs.
Going into the offseason, Brooklyn was +700 to win the title in 2023. Those were the third-best odds in the league, just behind the Warriors and Celtics, who met in the NBA Finals last season. The team was expected to bounce back and be one of the best teams in the league in the coming season.
However, now that everything seems to be falling apart for Brooklyn, his odds are in freefall. The Nets are now 25-1 to win the title, the 12 best odds in the league. It seems likely that the franchise will be rebuilt, as their super team never came to fruition.