Nets' Updated 2023 NBA Championship Odds After Kevin Durant Withdraws Trade Request

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 23, 2022

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You might have missed the boat to bet the under on the Brooklyn Nets.

General manager Sean Marks announced Tuesday the uncertainty around Kevin Durant's future has been resolved:

Brooklyn Nets @BrooklynNets

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With Durant now staying in Brooklyn, the Nets are +750 at FanDuel to win the 2023 NBA championship.

br_betting @br_betting

+750 to win the NBA Finals <a href="https://twitter.com/FDSportsbook?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@FDSportsbook</a> 🤫 <a href="https://t.co/df9aSnDFpH">https://t.co/df9aSnDFpH</a>

The Boston Celtics (+480), Milwaukee Bucks (+600), Los Angeles Clippers (+700) and Golden State Warriors (+700) all have better title odds.

Placating Durant enough to where he wanted to stay was obviously the optimal outcome for the Nets in the short term. The question remains, however, whether the franchise can avoid more of the headaches that doomed its 2021-22 season.

Mike Prada. (PRAY-duh) @MikePradaNBA

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The Athletic's Shams Charania reported Monday the Nets "made clear to interested teams that they plan to keep" Kyrie Irving. The fact Durant is staying presumably puts to bed any further doubt regarding Irving's status as well.

Yahoo Sports' Vincent Goodwill reported in July the NBA won't have a COVID-19 vaccine mandate. And with New York City no longer enforcing a mandate, Irving will be available for all of Brooklyn's games.

Still, it might be safe to assume based on his injury history the seven-time All-Star could miss a stretch of games in 2022-23.

Ben Simmons is a major wild card after having not played for a full season.

Simmons is theoretically the perfect complement to Durant and Irving on offense, and he can cover for their deficiencies on defense. Until he returns to the court, though, nobody can say for sure whether he'll pick up from where he left off with the Philadelphia 76ers.

The same goes for T.J. Warren, who missed all of 2021-22 because of a stress fracture in his foot. Can Warren provide the kind of scoring on the wing Brooklyn was sorely lacking in the 2022 playoffs?

Head coach Steve Nash hasn't exactly silenced his skeptics, either.

Between Brooklyn getting swept in the first round and the Los Angeles Lakers missing the play-in tournament altogether, last year demonstrated the folly in betting on star power alone.

The Nets lifting the Larry O'Brien NBA Championship Trophy next summer won't be a surprising outcome, but it's far from a sure thing.


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